The simple answer is no. I don't know anyone who likes the idea of giving half her waking hours, if not more, to an organization she doesn't respect. Most people realize (sooner or later) that it's time to start looking for a new job.

This is hard to accept, and it's tempting to consider the infamous end run: complaining to your boss's boss. I don't necessarily recommend that choice. Given the way most companies work, this option will fail 80 to 90 percent of the time, and will likely lead to your own demise, if only in slow motion. (If you're determined to go over your boss's head, have a job offer elsewhere ready.)

Whether you leap or get pushed, leaving your company will be hard. But it can open up surprising opportunities, as it did for a single mother I met four years ago. She had supported herself and her son as a hairdresser for nearly a decade, until one day, pummeled into a depressed mess by an abusive boss, she quit. Broke and living in her former stepfather's basement, she started a knitwear company that just earned its first million dollars. “My bad boss was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said, “because he forced me to create a life for myself that makes me proud.”

Too often, however, the answer to the question, “Do I want to work at my company?” is anything but simple: Your job may be the only game in town. Or it pays you too well to leave. Or it gives you the flexibility you need to take care of your kids. If so, there is one thing left to ask.... 


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