Today we’re talking about a sticking up for and being damaged by a boss with a bad reputation.
I work for a Donald Trump clone but I don’t have a Mike Pence or a Kellyanne Conway personality to deal with him. They don’t seem to have problems explaining why their candidate does what he does. When customers or my coworkers ask whether it bothers me when my boss leers at women or makes stupid comments about those who can’t get off welfare and get a job, I tell the truth – it does bother me.
But then I say that’s not the boss I work for. My boss is a good guy. He treats me well. He lets me have ideas contrary to his, as long as I listen to him first and make a good case for mine. I’ve learned he blows up and then rails about someone or a situation and then simmers down. He’s actually great to work for.
He doesn’t leer at me, and though I’ve occasionally worried whether it means I’m not attractive enough, I’ve decided it’s because he knows me as a person.
However I’m afraid people will think I share his views because I’ve worked for him for more than a year. Someday I’ll want to move on from this job, and I’m worried, because he’s well known in this city, that I’ll lose out on opportunities because a prospective employer will make assumptions about me.
Also, I sort of want to protect him from how everyone sees him because he’s so much more than they think.
If you present yourself in the right way, most people will see you as you, though some may assume you agree with your boss. Set them straight without slamming your boss. “Yes, he said that, though that’s not what I believe. If you want to pursue that, you’ll need to take that up with him.”
You can’t protect your boss. You can, as you do now, tell them there’s more to your boss than meets the eye. Let them know he treats you with respect, that there is more to him than meets the eye and that he’s been great to work for. If you want, explain what that is and what you’ve learned from him.
When you leave, along with your boss’s recommendation letter and resume, supply future employers with a cover letter outlining what you know how to do and noting that you’ve learned to work with and for individuals who think differently than you do. Prospective employers read cover letters while they scan resumes and that line may intrigue the right kind of employer.
© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you have a career questions you’d like Lynne to answer, write her @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Lynne is an executive coach and author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. You can follow Lynne through her other posts on sheknows.com, via www.workplacecoachblog.com, www.bullywhisperer.com™ or @lynnecurry10 on Twitter.