If you’ve watched HBO’s Insecure, you’ve seen the horrors Issa was experiencing at her job. She was removed from the field, her boss digs at her every chance she gets, and when Issa offers her advice her boss disregards it. I’m so glad she quit. It was beyond time! And chileee, things were getting rough!
Anyone who’s had a job for more than a day knows that sometimes your boss just can’t get it together! And for those of you in school, for every teacher/professor you like, you have two you can’t stand. But before you jump ship or drop your class, Here are a few ways to combat issues with your professor/supervisor, cause you know I got yall!
1) Boss reprimands/demotes you/you fail an assignment
You forget to study and bomb your test. You miss a deadline on a project. Or maybe you mess up BIG time. Luckily you didn’t get fired or fail completely, but the sting is there. Our actions have consequences. Messing up makes you want to quit the job and/or drop the class. It happens to the best of us, but grade in class or your reputation at work can both be salvaged if you take action ASAP.
First, talk to your professor/supervisor. If you screw up at work, your supervisor is probably going to approach you first (hooray?). Depending on the situation they will create an action plan as a disciplinary measure or they might put you on a probation period.
On the other hand, Working with professors might be different. Visit your professor during their office hours to go over where you went wrong on your assignment, project or paper. If you did poorly on a test, ask them for support.
In either scenario, convey to your supervisor/professor that you understand where you went wrong, and that you are going to work to ensure better results next time (and apologize!). Whether you’re completing extra work, getting their input on upcoming projects, asking for extra credit, or going to tutoring; prove that you are working hard to turn things around. Rebuilding trust your grades and rapport takes time, but it can be done.
2) Boss/professor favors coworkers/classmates over you
No matter how hard you try, your professor never seems enthusiastic when you answer a question in class. When your supervisor comes in every morning, they speaks to your other coworkers, but when they walk past your desk all they do is wave. You start to feel some type of way. Even though you haven’t done anything (or did you?) you can’t figure out why they don’t vibe with you! If the thought of your boss hating you really bothers you, it might be worth it to set up a meeting with them to make sure you are hitting all your duties well. Listen to their feedback and make adjustments in your behavior or performance. If after you’ve taken these steps and nothing changes, remember that you can’t make everyone like you; and you shouldn’t have to. Whatever you do, don’t kiss up to them; no one respects a brown noser. As long as they are treating you with respect and aren’t discriminating against you, do your best work, keep a positive attitude and keep it moving. Further, focus on the professional relationships that have opportunity to flourish (those are the ones that will provide you with great references and recommendation letters!). Not every professional or superior is going to be your bestie and that’s okay!
3) Boss/professor is disrespectful
The most direct approach is to talk to them about it. If you are comfortable, talk to your professor or supervisor about what they said or did to you. Be honest and provide an example of what was done or said and why it was inappropriate or offensive. Give your boss or professor a chance to respond. Just like us, bosses and professors make mistakes. They might apologize for what happened; or they might not even realize that how they acted was wrong. If you aren’t satisfied with the conversation, if you begin to feel uncomfortable or if the conversation turns into an argument, remove yourself from the situation. Resist the urge to pop off! Whether you speak to them about the incident or not, Document what was said when it happens, and each time if there are multiple offenses. Be as detailed as possible (include dates, times, and the names of persons involved), as this will come in handy when you talk to HR or your dean. Your dean, counselor or HR department can provide you with insight on how these situations are handled; and can stand in the gap and advocate for you when you’ve been disrespected. You do not have to go through struggles at work or school alone. It can also help to vent to a TRUSTED coworker or mentor. They too can give you advice if they’ve been in this boat before (and remind them to keep your conversations confidential).
4) Making your exit and moving forward
I hate not finishing what I’ve started. If you’re anything like me you’ve been raised not to be a quitter, to be strong, and work through whatever life throws at you. But there comes a time when leaving things behind is acceptable and smart. Your jobs and/or classes are supposed to bring out the best in you, not the worst! We all deserve to have peace and respect at our jobs and classes. If a job or a class is impacting your emotional/ mental health; let it go.
This article was written by Brooke Denham. You can follow her on Instagram @brookelynnheart