While everyone wishes otherwise, almost everyone reading this will have to work for a bad boss at some point in his or her life. But author Merritt Watts has a provocative theory about the impact of bad bosses on younger workers — and that’s that those workers will benefit in the long run.
Watts’ latest book, “First Jobs: True Tales of Bad Bosses, Quirky Coworkers, Big Breaks, and Small Paychecks,” compiles 50 stories (good and bad) about the various first jobs a wide variety of Americans have had over the years.
We caught up with Watts to ask her why it is important to stick it out and work with bad bosses at a first job.
You’ll learn valuable lessons: “Having a bad boss at your first job is not going to derail your entire career,” Watts points out. “It’s teaching you one of the most important things in the workforce, which is how to deal with people. When you have a bad boss, you’re forced to make it work, so I would arguably say that this is one of the most important skills you can learn,” she says.
It will help you grow: “As teenagers, your brain goes through this huge neurological development, and you’re forming new connections, so you’re learning frontal lobe skills, such as calming yourself down when you’re really mad or how to have a confrontational conversation with someone without blowing up,” Watts explains. “So if you’re in this position for emotional growth, but you’re not putting yourself in situations where you’re forced to deal with it, then you’re not going to acquire that skill, and that’s going to haunt you forever,” she adds.
It’s a trial by fire: “Almost everyone has been there, and you have to realize that this is your first relationship with someone who is not your parent and not your teacher, and they just want the job done,” she says. “Think of it as a rite of passage and a way to bond with your co-workers.”