NEARLY everyone has suffered this at least once in his career — the boss who makes each workday a living terror.

You can find the Boss from Hell in any industry or occupation. Even the best companies slip up from time to time, allowing bullies to rise through the employment food chain to management.

If a national survey were taken to find out the reasons people change jobs, by far the No. 1 reason for job dissatisfaction would be bad management.

As a career coach, surprisingly, I have found that increased earning potential usually ranks far below the desire to leave a mean, unreasonable boss.

If you wake up each day dreading the next eight to 10 hours, your problem might be your supervisor.

Toxic boss test

You are working for the Boss From Hell if:

* He (or she) bullies you and your co-workers with threats and temper tantrums;

* His unpredictable moods keep the office environment constantly tense, with people second-guessing his next move;

* He sets unrealistic and unattainable goals; and

* You live in constant fear of being fired.

Fear and intimidation never motivate employees to excel. Tyrannical supervisors create an atmosphere of distrust and isolation. If you work for someone like this, your confidence is probably not what it used to be.

In fact, you are probably second-guessing your decisions on the job constantly.

As long as you work for management that rules by fear, you will never reach your career and earning potential.

Three steps to a happier worklife

There are three steps to escape the Boss From Hell and move on to a happier, healthier work place:

1. Gain perspective to think rationally about your career options

Fear in the workplace tends to leave people thinking they have no better options than to stick it out. Such thinking is a result of loss of confidence and the inability to see beyond the present distress.

One way to gain perspective and see new options is to spend some time browsing job postings.

The right direction might be within another department or division of your current employer, but away from your current boss. Or, it might be somewhere else altogether.

If you keep an open mind, you will see that there are many options for you outside of your current job.

One way to get the most out of this career reconnaissance is to search for job postings based on skills rather than job titles.

Do a job skills self-analysis to identify the tasks and activities you enjoy performing on your job.

Use those skills as your search terms at online job boards. You may be surprised to see that you qualify for positions you had not thought of before.

2. Take inventory of your career accomplishments and contributions

To get moving towards a new position, you will need to regain your confidence.

Think about, and then write down, situations in which you:

* Came up with an idea for saving time;

* Helped your team reach a production goal;

* Identified cost-savings opportunities; and

* Solved a customer problem leading to increased customer satisfaction.

As you think back on your accomplishments, you will begin to realise the value you have added to your company.

Remember, other employers have similar problems to solve. They are looking for candidates who have experience in handling difficult situations.

The more specific the examples of your accomplishments are, the more marketable you will be in the job market.

3. Update your resumé

Once you have your accomplishments listed, use them to update your resumé.

Think of your resumé as your initial marketing tool — it should announce to potential employers your ability to help them reach their bottom-line corporate goals.

For example, your resumé should appeal to potential employers’ desire to increase efficiency, cut costs and improve productivity. When employers see what you can do for them, they will be impressed.

Your resumé should also have a clear career focus.

Updating your resumé does not mean simply adding your current work history to your old resumé format. Without a careful strategy, your resumé will begin to resemble an old house with too many tacked-on additions.

Make sure your resumé presents a cohesive, well-thought out, professional front.

Additionally, if your career has taken several interesting turns, you will want to adjust your resumé to refocus on your current job search.

Highlight the items from your career that are relevant and minimise the things that are no longer relevant.

Once you have gained perspective on your career options, taken inventory of your accomplishments and updated your resumé, you will be mentally and emotionally ready to seek other employment opportunities, either within or outside your current company.

You don’t have to remain in an unhappy job. You do have choices. Take the steps to help yourself — you will be glad you did.