How to Spot a Bad Boss

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 22, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: How about this statistic: Half of all U.S. workers say that they would fire their own boss if they could. Well, if so, you could perhaps prevent it from happening at your next job.

My next guest says that there are a few proactive things that you can do to judge whether your future boss would be right for you.

Joining us now Tory Johnson. She's the CEO of Women for Hire.

Tory, welcome.


KEENAN: OK. Most people are so anxious to get the job, they don't even really think about the boss. What can you do to prevent yourself from having a nightmare situation?

JOHNSON: Before accepting a position or before even getting to that stage, during that interview process, you want to interview your boss. Turn the tables.

And one of the best questions you can ask is why is this position vacant? Tell me about the turnover in this department. If someone lets you know that the position is vacant because someone's been promoted, that's a great sign. However, if they let you know that, well, we've had trouble keeping somebody here, big bells should go off.

KEENAN: And that's a question you can probably ask without raising too many red flags that you're putting the boss on notice.

JOHNSON: Absolutely.

KEENAN: But what about your other suggestion?

JOHNSON: You can talk to colleagues. You can talk to colleagues in an industry. Certainly, if you work in a close-knit industry, people know people. You can find out information there.

Former employees, current employees. That's why networking is so valuable, because the more people that you can talk to, to find out about this person, the better.

But even simple steps like Googling the person can often retrieve some good information.

KEENAN: And you also say you can go on company chat rooms. And I'm thinking of a recent example with Carly Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard. And if you went on the Web site, fair or not, there was a lot of indication that company morale was really bad and getting worse.

JOHNSON: That's right. And a lot of people didn't like her. Absolutely. There are so many on the Internet, blogs, all sorts of things, where you can get a ton of information.

And again, sometimes you want to be careful, because the source might be a disgruntled former employee. And you don't necessarily want to give that person all the clout. Other times, it's valuable, and it's a red flag.

KEENAN: Well, they say you can't change your spouse. Can you change your boss?

JOHNSON: Absolutely. If you have a current boss you don't like, try communication first. Try to work it out before you think about jumping ship.

Other times, perhaps there's an opportunity within the company that you can go to. If all else fails, might be time to move on.

KEENAN: Yes. When do you know all else fails, when you can't get out of bed in the morning?

JOHNSON: When you can't get out of bed, when you're really miserable about your work, when you like the type of work, but you're miserable in that environment.

You know what? Life's too short for any of us to be miserable. I tell the people in my office all the time, if I get to be a bully boss like that, like, hit me, scream, do something. Life's too short to live like that.

KEENAN: But it can be the employee's problem sometime. Are people who have serial bad experiences with their boss?

JOHNSON: Yes. And if they do, you know, that's just something about them. None of us should have that kind of bad luck ongoing.

KEENAN: Look in the mirror then, in this case.

JOHNSON: Yes, absolutely.

KEENAN: Thanks so much for joining us with your insights.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

KEENAN: Tory Johnson of Women for Hire.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 FOX News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.