Help! I’m scared of my boss

Yes, we may only be twenty somethings, but that absolutely does not mean we should be taking sh*t from our boss.

We’ve all been there. Your phone pings and you see your boss’s name staring back at you from your home screen. Your heart sinks, as your mind races with the overwhelming worry of ‘What have I done?’ 

You open your phone, and it’s the same passive-aggressive tone as ever, asking you why something wasn’t done properly on your last shift, or why you’ve dared to book next weekend off.

Or maybe you’ve been working a seven hour shift. As you’re clockwatching for the last half an hour of your shift, desperate to go home, your boss asks you to work an extra two hours, and although you can’t think of anything worse, you feel you have no other choice but to say yes.

Whatever it may be, the anxious feeling of not wanting to be on the wrong side of your boss is an extreme concern many people deal with daily, and is officially known as ‘Authority Anxiety’. 

For reference, we asked on Instagram for anecdotes regarding boss’s from hell, and just a few of these included someone handing their notice in, only for it to be handed back with a simple ‘no’, forced to work Christmas day for 4 years in a row, and someone even being told by their boss that “I am fond of your feet”. Gross.

It can be hard not to wonder if they are just taking the p*ss out of us because we are younger? But how do we tackle this?

Luckily, we have expert insight, as Martha Lee, a qualified relationship counsellor, has provided us with tips to help us overcome these workplace anxieties. 

“Practising assertiveness is a great place to start”, Martha said. “To do this, use “I” statements and set clear boundaries, to effectively communicate with your boss.

“It is also important to prepare and plan before addressing any concerns, so take your time and ensure you are clear on what points you aim to get across. Choosing the correct time and place is also vital to ensure the conversation is appropriate and open to communication – so don’t address your boss in front of other colleagues or during high-stress situations.”

A common submission from our followers was a lack of breaks. Remember it’s illegal for you to work longer than six hours, without at least a 20 minute break. Understandably, work gets busy, and it can feel awkward asking to take a break, however it is another basic right, which your bosses are well aware of and should be implementing.

So, if you are working extensive hours on your feet with no break and feel awkward asking for a 20 minute breather, there is no need, as it would be illegal for you to be denied this. Knowing your rights is so important, which Martha explained further. 

“Familiarise yourself with your rights”, she said. “Understanding your rights can give you a sense of empowerment and confidence when addressing issues with your boss.

“It’s natural to feel nervous, but maintaining eye contact and speaking confidently is key to effectively making your point clear. Also, rather than just pointing out problems, focus on finding solutions, by offering constructive suggestions or alternatives that can help resolve the issue effectively.”

It may sound easier said than done. Bosses are often seen as intimidating figures, and for an easy life, you’d rather just keep quiet and stay on their good side. However, too many of us are being taken advantage of, purely because of our age and the assumption that we don’t know any better.

In reality, us twenty-somethings are more switched on than our boss’s give us credit for. The first step is simply gaining the confidence to question them. Hopefully, this article has provided insight into when and why we should be doing this, and prove we aren’t there to be walked all over, purely because of our age.

And one final note – if your boss ever comments on your feet, please run for the hills.