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When I was working in corporate America, before I encountered master manipulators and horrible bosses, I was so full of optimism. I was fresh out of high school and college where the rules were so clear. Get good grades (luckily that came easy) and join all the clubs, be the Prom co-chair, and graduate with honors. It felt so good to be good. Following the rules can be totally invigorating.   When I started working my first real job (my 2 months as the world’s worst deep dish pizza waitress doesn’t count) I thought the world worked the same way as it did in school. In school, it seemed everyone had mostly good intentions. If you get good grades and showed effort, you were rewarded.   Imagine my shock when I found out that the working world is a bizarre, twisted reality where the more earnest effort you put in, the more vulnerable you can be to manipulation.   Luckily, I made my way out of corporate America without too much damage.  
In my 10 years as a 9 – 5 office dweller, I learned some crucial lessons about how to spot master manipulators in the workplace.
  If you think your boss is a master manipulator – or maybe it’s your coworker, keep reading.  

The 6 Types of horrible bosses


Misogynist boss

  A misogynist boss has a particular brand of manipulative and infuriating qualities. He refuses to really hear you. But if your male coworker has the same bright idea, he’s all ears. And Mr. Misogynist Boss hates to give you attention. He’ll be all sorts of aloof and distracted for your meetings (if he ever shows up to them). With other male colleagues, he’s the opposite.   Also, your misogynist boss absolutely hates when you’re right or heaven forbid, you have a good idea. He’ll probably steal that good idea, so be careful.  

Gaslighting boss

  I had a boss that gave me absolute whiplash with how he would cool and easy going about a project on a Monday and then two days later he was red faced and furious about something he told me not to worry about.   A gaslighting boss rarely puts anything in an email. This is because they don’t like proof of what they say, in case they want to contradict you later (gaslighting 101).   They give you just enough words of affirmation to keep you hopeful. Out of nowhere, your gaslighter boss will give you positive reinforcement. It will feel so real. This makes you feel guilty for all the legitimate negativity you feel toward them.   The gaslighting boss can be hard to spot. You’re really distracted by feeling crazy and thinking that you’re doing a bad job (which means the workplace gaslighting has taken affect).  

Master manipulator boss


Narcissist boss


Cutthroat boss


Sexually harassing boss