At the jobs that I've had female bosses, they fall into roughly five categories:
1. Competent, secure, nurturing (this is the type that I currently have).
2. Competent but neurotic. Tends to be a micro-manager, but does not usually go after people.
3. Marginally incompetent yet nice. This poor person has been promoted one too many times and probably had no where else to go but "management." I wish there was a way to promote people without "rewarding" them with management responsibilities. There are some people who should just be on their own.
4. Competent asshole: This person is really good at their job, but has no business managing others. They recklessly trip over people on their way up, but at least they have the right skills to actually accomplish results.
5. Incompetent asshole: This is the worst kind of asshole. They are full of venom. And one thing they always have in common? They are out to prove themselves, and you'd better watch out, because they bascially see everyone as a threat. Consequently, even your most well-intentioned idea will be seen as an affront to them. The only way to get along with this person is to kiss their ass.
Once you realize that you're stuck with an asshole boss, what can you do? Depending on where you are in your career, there are some options. Try to keep some perspective and a good attitude. It's tough not to get depressed about your situation, so make sure you have a lot of pleasant interactions outside of work.
Here are some ways to cope with the asshole female boss.
- Journal your experience. Getting your experience on paper will help you manage your emotions and it may have the added benefit of documenting abusive behavior. Don't keep your journal at work.
- Manage expectations. Proactively involve your boss in your work and let her know when you've run into obstacles. Just like any boss, avoid surprising them with unexpected news.
- Lay low. Don't go out of your way to draw attention to yourself. Sometimes the asshole boss will just lash out at the most convenient target.
- Don't gossip. Find a friend outside of work to vent to. Spreading your misery will not help the situation - in fact - it can just create a more poisonous atmosphere and cause your boss to lash out.
- Update your resume. You're going to be one in a long line of people who've left because of the bitch in the corner office. Get yourself out of there and into a better job.
It's an unfortunate fact of life. Many people who don't deserve the privilege of being your boss will eventually find themselves in that role. These people are struggling with their own incompetence and lack of emotional maturity. You're just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't over-think it. Just get out.