How to Tick Off Your Boss

10 Things to Make Your Boss Really Unhappy With You

Woman texting at work
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Bosses are just humans, and like all humans, they are not perfect. This means that sometimes your boss drives you up the wall. If you want to get back at your boss and destroy your own career in the process (because in all honesty, even a bad boss is still your boss), try these ten things and see how fast you can make your boss angry.

Make the Same Error Over and Over Again

Everybody understands that there is a learning curve for every job. People also expect mistakes from time to time. But, if you really want to drive your boss up the wall, make the same mistake over and over and over again. Ignore your boss when she corrects you. Just keep making the same mistake and exhibit no commitment to fix your error.

Whine About Your Peers

You're probably smart enough not to whine about your boss to her face, but what about whining about your coworkers? Try this, “Jane gets the better projects.” and “Why do I have to do the closing shift? Why didn't you schedule John?” Also, a popular whine is, “I'm the one who does all the work around here. Why don't you make Carol do some of it?”

Spend Your Time on Your Phone

Sure, you could be checking tiny spreadsheets on your iPhone, but it's more likely that you're goofing off on the company's dime. Every time your boss sees you, make sure you're hunched over your phone, tapping away. Better yet, put your headphones in and snort to yourself as you watch funny YouTube videos.

Volunteer for a Project, Then Screw It Up

There are plum assignments that everyone wants. Beg and plead to get one of these and then do it sloppily, or ignore deadlines, or push it off onto someone else. This will make your boss wonder why on earth you volunteered for the project. Don't expect to get another plum assignment any time soon—if ever. Once burned...

Don't Respond on Time

A lot of communication these days is electronic—whether it's email, text message, or WhatsApp—conversations with your boss aren't always face to face. This means you don't have to reply immediately like you would if you were in the same room. Try waiting 3 hours to respond to a simple question. For a more complex question, wait a couple of days or don't respond at all.

Treat Your Customers Poorly

While the customer is not always right, with no customers you have no job. The boss wants satisfied customers who come back repeatedly, so if you want to tick her off, make sure you offer lousy customer service. If a retail customer asks where an item is, don't show her, just wave your arm in a general direction.

If a professional services client sends an email, ignore it. If your plumbing client calls in a panic with a flooding basement put her on hold and finish your game of Candy Crush. You need to make customers matter—because they matter.

Be Defensive

Make sure the attitude you express to your boss is that it's never your fault. There's always someone or something else to blame. The report had errors because Jane didn't have time to proofread it before you handed it in.

The shipment was late because the internet was spotty that day and the order must not have gone through properly (even though records show you didn't do the work in a timely manner). Just keep repeating this mantra, “It's not my fault” over and over again.

Be Unreliable

You're supposed to clock in by 8:00? Show up somewhere around 9:00. Take a long lunch without telling anyone you'll be gone for two hours. Send a text message at 8:15 telling your boss you are feeling sick and won't make it in. Bonus points if you have a meeting scheduled that morning. These things drive bosses crazy.

Be a Slob

Leaving around slightly moldy bowls definitely indicates something bad. How can your boss trust you to pay attention to detail in your job if you can't bother to clean up the used tissues on your desk? How about the triangular stack of pop cans that never seems to disappear? Your boss makes decisions about you based on appearances, for sure.

Ignore Specific Instructions

Your boss says, “Please do A and then B, and if you have time, do C,” so what you should do, of course, is start with C. If your boss says, “Please use the company standard templates,” then design your own. You may be right, that your ideas are better, but your boss will not be pleased with your efforts. You'll have to redo the work, and your boss will be angry.

If, instead, you'd like to make your boss happy, and improve your career, do the opposite of everything listed here. Your life will be much better with a happy boss.

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Suzanne Lucas is a freelance journalist specializing in Human Resources. Suzanne's work has been featured on notes publications including Forbes, CBS, Business Insider and Yahoo.