Thank goodness that not every boss is as demanding as the fictional fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, played by actress Meryl Streep in the 2006 movie “The Devil Wears Prada.” Her employees scramble to try and anticipate her every desire, but can never seem to please her.

But in a good job market, workers are less likely to put up with intimidating behavior.

Seattle ranked No. 3 in workers who say they have quit a job due to a bad boss, according to a national survey by global staffing firm Robert Half International. The city tied with Charlotte, North Carolina, for the dubious distinction.

Sacramento, California, ranked at the top of the list, with 66% of employees resigning due to their boss — higher than the national average of 49 percent.

“If (workers are) not happy with their current employer, there is always another option, especially in this job market,” said Brenda Arce, branch manager for OfficeTeam in Miami, part of staffing company Robert Half International. Miami and Tampa tied at No. 2 in the survey.

Young professionals tend to quit jobs sooner if they’re unhappy with their boss, the survey indicates. “They feel more confident in the job prospects so they may not stick around when they have a bad boss,” Arce said.


The strong job market across the U.S. has something to do with unhappy workers quitting jobs.

What constitutes a bad boss? While some issues are blatant — harassment, discrimination or other illegal behavior — other bad-boss issues may have to do with work styles, communication or getting in the way of the employee’s success, experts say.

Arce said people who quit jobs or come to the staffing firm seeking a change often “complain their boss isn’t giving them the proper tools to succeed. They want to have a manager who helps them grow.”

South Florida executive and life coach Aimee Bernstein said any type of personality can be a bad boss.

“One type of bad boss believes they’re the smartest, they know everything. ‘Be loyal to me and do it my way.’ ” But if you go along with the boss, “you feel like you have no meaning or true contribution,” she said.

Another type is the perfectionist who tends to micromanage employees. In that scenario, “people feel they can’t bring their creativity to work.” Then there’s the bad boss that cuts corners and “doesn’t care about people’s feelings.”


Arce said workers who have a conflict with their boss should request a meeting to address the problem in a professional manner. Most managers are open to feedback, she said. “They may not even know they’re causing this conflict.”

“You don’t have to become best friends with them. But you need to have a respectful, day-to-day relationship,” Arce said.

Bernstein suggests that an unhappy employee head to human resources first, where any complaint should be confidential.

If you can’t afford to leave your job, make your boss “feel safe with you,” she said. “Say, ‘I’ll try it your way first.’”

“See the world through their perspective. They are under a lot of pressure also. Are they worried about their job, their productivity, their financial (situation)? If you come in with criticism or resistance, you become part of the problem,” Bernstein said.

Where are bad bosses not such a problem? Minneapolis, Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia had the lowest percentage of employees surveyed who have quit over a bad boss, according to the survey.

Robert Half International had survey responses from 2,837 workers who are 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments in 28 major U.S. cities.