Holiday season will be upon us before you know it, and depending on what line of work you are in, it can be a very demanding time of the year.  The end of the year often means that some projects must be finished and last-minute paperwork completed. If you are in a retail job, you will most likely be extremely busy with holiday shoppers and working longer hours.  You may have a lot of co-workers taking time-off to spend with family or go on vacation, which can make your job even more stressful.

When the normal pressures of the end-of-the-year work are combined with a difficult boss, you may feel like you are reaching your breaking point.  Here are some tips to stay sane over the holiday season.

Talk to Your Boss.  Not only is the holiday season stressful for employees, managers are under the same amount of pressure at the end of the year.  Your boss may be unaware that working with him or her is challenging.  If you think your manager or supervisor can handle a difficult talk, sit down with them, explain your worries, and ask how to correct the problem.  For example, you could say, “I feel like you are under a lot of stress and are unhappy with my performance. What can I do to help you or improve our work environment?”  If your boss becomes confrontational during the talk, stay calm.

Keep a Record.  If speaking with your manager does not achieve the desired results, keeping a record of the hostile actions that your boss does to you or says to you can be valuable later if you choose to approach your HR department.  It can also be a way to let off some steam.  Be sure to make notations of dates the events occurred and the names of any witnesses present.

Choose Happiness.  You have a choice on how to respond in a difficult situation.  If you feel overwhelmed, choose positive things to do at work each day, such as taking a walk during a break or having lunch with a friend.  Focus on the positive aspects of your job.

Ignore It.  Although this may be easier said than done, the only thing that you have control over is your own temperament.  If your boss is not normally a nightmare, maybe he or she is stressed from the holidays or pressures at work as well.  You can choose not to overreact and not to take things personally.  Keeping an even keel while under pressure can have a profound impact on those you work with, including your supervisors.   Try to remain calm and focused on your tasks at-hand.

Seek Help from the Company.  If working conditions truly are hellacious, you should speak to someone in the HR department.  A record of what happened can be valuable, along with names of witnesses.  It is possible that there may already be many complaints against your manager for similar incidents, and reporting him or her to HR could be what leads to them being terminated or disciplined.  Most employers value their employees’ happiness while on the job, and will take action in order to ensure that their business runs smoothly and their employees are cohesive.

Make an Exit Strategy.  If the job is truly affecting your mental or physical health and there seems to be no remedy to the current work environment, it may be time to put together a plan to leave.  In many cases, focusing on your future and exploring other options will take your mind off your current issues at work.  Polish your resume, talk to recruiters or others in the field, and make a decision about where the New Year will bring you.

Get Legal Help.  The vast majority of bosses from hell may make your life miserable, but do not take actions in violation of the law.  However, some employers do break the law, and if that occurs, you should speak with an attorney.  If your supervisor, manager, or boss has discriminated against you or harassed you because of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, color, national origin, religion, or handicap, you may have the right to monetary damages from your employer.  In addition, if your boss chose to fire you for complaining about discrimination or harassment, that is illegal retaliation.

If you believe that your employer has engaged in illegal behavior, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment law attorney, at 510-645-1000.  You may have legal options that you have not considered.  Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.

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