Part of the appeal of working as a traveler is that you get to work under all kinds of supervisors. But that can also be part of the challenge if you’re stuck with a boss who’s moody, temperamental or obstinate.
The good news? You’ll only be dealing with the grouch for a limited amount of time, and you can use the following strategies to make your time with him more pleasant.
- Realize their mood may have little to do with you. If you’re completing your work, maintaining a positive attitude, respecting their authority and getting along with other co-workers, the issue is probably not personal. Their ire may be due to biology, bad food choices, lousy sleep, headache, personal problems, workplace politics or a range of other instigators. That doesn’t excuse the orneriness, but keeps you from internalizing it.
- Anticipate their triggers. Try to identify what sets them off, and look for ways to avert it. If you can predict when they'll be grouchy, stay busy with tasks that don’t involve them.
- Don’t engage emotionally. Remain calm and objective, dealing with them only as needed to perform your job well. It’s really not important that you like each other, only that they rate your performance highly on future job references.
- Don’t pass on their negativity. Vow to let the orneriness end with you so it doesn’t cause a downward spiral with co-workers.
- Quietly document the behavior. You may never need your notes, but they could also come in handy if you ever need to defend your work performance.
- Consider speaking up. If your boss’s behavior is more annoying than debilitating, you may just want to finish your assignment without incident. If it becomes abusive, however, you need to discuss the issue with the grouch directly or file a complaint with higher-ups.