How to Handle a Boss That's a Total Nightmare

And when to ask HR to step in.

If you're stuck in a Devil Wears Prada situation at work, people might tell you to "grin and bear it," or "in a year, you can move on." But if you're dealing with a boss who's unprofessional, mean, or worse, that advice doesn't necessarily apply—and you need to know when to head to Human Resources. On this week's episode of "Adulthood Made Easy," host Sam Zabell gets advice from Bucky Keady, VP Talent Management at Time Inc., on how to deal with various managersfrom bosses who scream and yell, to bosses who gossip behind other employees' backs. Listeners and Real Simple readers sent in their worst stories—and you won't believe what some people had to go through at work (it might make you appreciate your own situation!).

For some cases, Keady offers smart conversational strategies for handling an aggressive or angry boss. Most importantly, she encourages all employees to use the Human Resources department as a resource, or sounding board, without actually expecting them to step into the situation. Rather, use them to practice conversations, get advice, or decide if it's time to move on to another job. Listen to the full episode below for one horrible boss story that even Keady, with all her years of HR experience, can't solve. Don't forget to subscribe and review the show on iTunes!