How to Stand up to a Rude Boss

by Evil HR Lady on July 31, 2019

I have a boss that is extremely condescending and a control freak, so to speak. She is rather rude and makes a comment about my appearance quite often, specifically my nails. I wear my nails with the latest trends but not anything that would consider a disturbance in my work. She makes comments on how “they’re just crazy” and “I don’t understand how you wear your nails that way”. I’ve grown quite self-conscious of my nails whenever I need to work with my boss in the office (she mainly works from home) to the point that I hide my hands when I work with her. She picks on me in front of coworkers and just laughs as if it’s all fun and games. Is this a work violation I can bring up to HR superiors? We are both in the HR department of our company and I am not in violation of our companies dress code.

To read my answer and what happened when the OP followed my advice, click here: How to Stand up to a Rude Boss

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

coach consultant July 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Erg waardevolle informative, ik ga het toepassen!

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grannybunny July 31, 2019 at 1:08 pm

I’m also in HR — in the EEO function, in fact — and my Boss sometimes makes comments about my age and potential retirement, even though I’ve never indicated any readiness or willingness to retire. I’m 73 and walk on a cane. My Boss is in his late 40’s and most of my co-workers are in their 30’s – 50’s. The most recent example was at an out-of-town training session for all of our team, from all over the Country, many of whom I was meeting personally for the first time (although having prior email and/or telephone contacts with some). In a group training session, he said that I was only 27 years old, so “you can see how stressful her job is,” pointing out my elderly appearance. He also made less direct comments about others possibly being interested in my job, for which there is only 1 position in our Region and 4 Nationwide. During the 3-day event, several people asked me if — and/or when — I was planning to retire and one even said “everyone is interested in your job,” so no telling what my Boss was telling people privately. He’s a manipulative, vindictive, type of person, so I have not confronted him about these comments. In our jobs, we would counsel management officials that such statements are direct evidence of age discrimination. Our 2 big bosses witnessed the comments, so maybe they’ll say something to him. He personally recruited me for this job, but perhaps I have somehow disappointed him, as he rarely even speaks to me.

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Mr Riposted August 1, 2019 at 12:25 am

How about a simple: “I’ll retire the day after you do, since you hired me”?

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Mr Riposted August 1, 2019 at 12:31 am

Or: “I’m looking to beat Sarkis Tatigian’s record: he marked his 75th anniversary of federal service a couple of years ago!”
https://federalnewsnetwork.com/on-dod/2017/11/dods-longest-serving-employee-marks-75-years-in-government/

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GreenDoor July 31, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Honestly I think this problem starts in preschool. We train children to “go tell teacher” if someone’s bothering them or being mean. And this sets the pattern for life! That everytime somone says or does something that bothers me my first reaction should be to tell someone in authority – so in the adult world that translates to call the cops or go to HR. It’s rather pathetic that we don’t do a better job of teaching children how to navigate dealing with annoying or hurtful people on their own so that they have these skills down pat by the time they enter the working world.

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LastBridge July 31, 2019 at 4:49 pm

It is sad how many times I could have nipped issues in the bud if I had the confidence/ knew how to address the problem right away. Most situation situations like this just need to be brought to the attention of the speaker and they just need to take a second to think about what they are saying to realize it isn’t the best conversation.
So many people get stuck on one topic for each co-worker…the lady with colorful nails, that guy who watches GOT, the intern that drinks lots of Diet Coke…and it just becomes the go-to comment for every interaction. Too bad this manager didn’t go with the “Your nails are always so colorful. What did you do with them this week?” instead of the negative response.

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Goober July 31, 2019 at 6:05 pm

It is, perhaps, an overreaction, but it’s a reaction to a real issue. In school, directly confronting someone being rude runs the risk of the bullying turning physical, at which point is it appropriate, even necessary, to get authority figures involved. And very young children simply don’t have the experience to judge situations reliably, or even really know how to tell the other person they want them to act.

So, IMO, either extreme is equally hazardous. Teach kids judgement as they are able to learn it. The failure isn’t in teaching preschoolers to run to teacher, it’s in never teaching them anything else later on, when they should be learning those interpersonal skills.

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Chris Hogg July 31, 2019 at 8:17 pm

So we should just confront our boss directly as you suggest here?

Hmmm….

I have the same issue with my boss, starting about a month ago (I’m a man) as she keeps talking about the length of my fingernails. So I’ve been lowering her desk chair about a quarter-inch every other day (she’s almost touching the floor now so apparently doesn’t pick up on subtle clues very well), have been putting salt in her sugar bowl (to communicate how bad I feel), have been leaving fingernail clippings on her desk (to indicate what happens when people cut their nails too often), have been playing Nine Inch Nails music every day at full volume on the company PA system (to help her realize that many people like long fingernails), and email her this article twice a day to show her my nails aren’t all that long: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5949923/Indian-man-finally-cuts-77-INCH-long-nails-growing-66-years.html

She still hasn’t stopped commenting.

I guess I’ll give your suggestion a try, but I’m not going to hold my breath … so far nothing else has worked.

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MariaRose July 31, 2019 at 10:30 pm

You have to be very conscious of the way you verbally talk to others in this PC world of today because not everyone is going to get your “true” meaning of the words expressed, especially if they are sensitive to verbal comments.
Obviously, this complainer is very proud of her nails and like to experiment with how she does them. If the appearance and length of her nails have been addressed by compliance with job work appearance, then it is nobodies business to make comments of any kind as to how they look per diem.

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Sahara K August 1, 2019 at 5:26 pm

At the age of 13, I started attending a new school in a new state. One of my teachers (Clothing/Sewing) made a nasty comment about my nails (I am a nailbiter) in front of the whole class–one of the worst humiliations of my life. If that happened to me or my child now, I would report the teacher to the Principal’s office or school board.

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grannybunny August 2, 2019 at 2:49 pm

I had a teacher in grade school who — repeatedly — publicly humiliated me before the entire class, apparently motivated by dislike of my older sister, whom he had taught a few years earlier. It’s never acceptable.

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