Thank Me Later: 6 Reasons Why You Should Appreciate Your Horrible Boss

by Natalya Jones
Warner Bros.

Expecting to fulfill your job position duties throughout the everyday drudgery Americans call “work” is challenging enough as it is.

But throw in a boss who micromanages, belittles and berates his or her employees, and that horrible boss may make your job, and sometimes life, that much harder.

Well, you should thank that person.

Sure, that may sound odd, especially if you have enough self respect to not tolerate such behavior, but take a look back at your horrible boss. That person, whether or not you realize it, has shaped your career for the better.

That condescending, pompous, ass of a boss has actually saved you a multitude of trouble down the line by helping you upfront. And if you’ve had multiple horrible bosses along the way, consider yourself lucky.

Think about it: Ignorance is not bliss in a career. You want to grow, both personally and professionally, and someone who is managing you in a seemingly perfect, cookie-cutter work environment may not be pushing you to be thick-skinned enough in future cut-throat professions.

Just like an ex-significant other, a horrible boss makes you realize you deserve better and work even harder for that dream job elsewhere. Here are some reasons why you should thank (not personally, of course) every single horrible boss you ever had to endure.

1. For giving you a backbone

Remember when your horrible boss told you to stay late for a meeting without extra pay, and you obliged? You may resent him or her for it because you had to cancel your plans, and you feel as if you were taken advantage of.

Truth be told, you probably were.

However, the way you allow yourself to be treated sets you up for how your boss can treat you.

If you volunteer to work during the weekends without compensation, you will be overloaded with work both Saturday and Sunday.

Responding to your emails after midnight? Your boss will expect you to continue to be accessible at all hours of the night.

Eagerly driving to long-distance meetings without gas or toll pay? Consider yourself the office truck driver.

But because of your experience with your horrible boss, you probably cut that sh*t short. At your new job, it’s more likely you will set boundaries to avoid being overworked.

Your horrible boss taught you how to say no and respect yourself. If you were a pushover, you are no longer.

2. For teaching you how not to run a business

Your horrible boss may be unethical and shady, and he or she may be ripping off clients and employees. If you ever decide to run a business, use this as an example of how not to run your company.

Thank him or her for showing you how a boss should never treat employees, and proceed to do the exact opposite. Instead of getting angry about all the times your boss yelled at you or took advantage of you, reflect on how the outcome should have been in a similar situation.

Your horrible boss could potentially make you the best damn boss you will ever be.

3. For teaching you what to look for in a boss, career and more

Through your horrible boss, maybe you realized a certain career field just wasn’t right for you. Better yet, you know what qualities to look for in an ideal boss.

A future boss with ostentatious cars and clothes may be in bad favor with you, if those qualities are associated with your horrible boss who ripped you off financially, or who never gave raises.

Instead, you may seek a boss who puts his or her earnings toward charity or, well, his or her employees.

4. For learning something

Whether it was through seminars, networking events or dealing with irate clients your boss screwed over, your time at your job was not wasted. In fact, it was well spent.

Going into your new job, you are more prepared to deal with the worst. And that makes you an employee at your best.

5. For helping you improve

A horrible boss can prep you for some much needed self-evaluation. For instance, if you are being micromanaged, think, "Is there a reason my boss is doing this? Did my behavior, or perhaps his or her perception of me, cause this to happen? Did too many of my tasks go unnoticed?"

If you were making too many mistakes, your boss may not have trusted you to do your own job duties. Granted, your boss could just have poor management skills, but realize this: In management, you must make room for your team to fail safely.

If there is anything you can take from a horrible boss who micromanages, keep that in mind.

6. For learning to appreciate a good boss

Going into your new job, you may feel nervous or jaded from your previous horrible boss. Every action of your new boss may have you question the intention of it, instead of you merely being appreciative.

As strange as that sounds, it’s normal.

Here’s some advice: Think of a job like a relationship. You can’t bring your baggage from the past into it.

Be wary of similar behaviors, but also realize you are now equipped to dodge the bullets, instead of being struck with them. And you can thank your horrible boss for that.