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The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, Chapter 16: On-the-Job Promotion

Working for a Tyrant and Other Joys

During the course of your career, it is likely that you will have a number of bosses. Some of these bosses will be difficult—almost intolerable.

However, your ability to work for a difficult individual might prove to be one of the most valuable traits that you can bring to an organization. Doing so requires tact, a strong sense of self, and the ability to produce under personal pressure.

Most of us, if we are honest, will admit to shying away from painful experiences. This is normal behavior. Our human nature forces us to react to difficult people with an almost fight-or-flight mechanism. This reaction normally means that we will argue, have personality conflicts with this person, or avoid the person altogether. None of these reactions is helpful from the standpoint of your career.

First, understand that all people, including you and me, are difficult at times. We all have bad days, overreactions, biases, and prejudices that impact our objectivity. In same cases, you might be the difficult person.

Assuming, however, that you are typically easy to get along with, what can you do to help you work with a difficult boss? The sections that follow provide some suggestions for overcoming this unfortunate obstacle while maintaining your professionalism.

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