“The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does.”
It’s a little unfortunate that almost everyone has a terrible boss story.
And it’s a little funny that terrible bosses can be separated into a bunch of types:
There’s the hoverer / creep-star who is always within earshot or “checking in on you” to see how you are doing (actually trying to catch you messing up).
Also you’ve got the negative nilly who automatically assumes you did something wrong. Anytime a word comes out of his mouth it’s automatically criticism first – and praise later.
There’s the tight ass who keeps you on a short leash with pinpoint deadlines.
Or the she-bitch who acts nice and is very bubbly around clients, but when dealing with employees unleashes the wrath of satan.
You’ve also got the chronic nagger who wants you to do this, that, and the other thing.
An interesting one is the oh-shit-what-do-I-do boss, who is usually a nice boss in a good mood 95% of the time, but once stress overtakes her she gets overwhelmed and becomes queen bitch.
Basically there are a lot of interesting boss personalities, and that goes for the good bosses too.
But one revelation I had while dealing with a boss a while back was this: one day I may end up like that.
I noticed myself and one of my bosses sharing a ton of personality traits – being Type A, excessive attention to detail, perfectionism. And I thought: “Oh shit.”
After all, being a good or bad boss doesn’t just materialize one day. It revolves around your personality in life and your character you have cultivated (or haven’t) over time.
- A person with patience will be a boss with patience.
- A person who cares about other people will be a boss who cares about his employees.
- A person with self control will probably (hopefully) exhibit self control with employees.
But are these assumptions true?
Maybe we just hear about the awful bosses right? Or maybe they are just normal humans loaded with personality flaws, as we all are.
But one thing I realized is that these bosses reflect ourselves – and I often think to myself, “If I’m an employer one day, will I be a royal douche that all my employees talk about behind my back? Or am I going to be someone that people like and respect and want to go out and drink with?”
Hopefully if you’ve bounced around a couple jobs over the years, you’ve accumulated enough bad boss stories to know exactly what you don’t want to be as a boss and have learned to spot it in yourself:
If you’re a high anxiety person, are you going to freak out on employees and make them deliberately avoid you?
If you’re a perfectionist, are you going to constantly be on the backs of employees, hovering to see when they do something wrong?
If you’re laid back, are you going to let people get away with pushing you around and not getting tasks done?
Personalities change as responsibilities change. And beyond just not being a terrible boss, you’ve got to ask yourself this: how will I be as a boss?
Added pressure, responsibility, and a leadership role change personalities big time.
Maybe you’ve realized that you’re also type A like your current boss, and that’ll you’ll constantly be nagging people on how to get things right a hundred times. You’ll learn that you have to let go, delegate, and just make a system and let people work it.
And you’ll realize that your boss is ultimately just a reflection of yourself – in another life at another time. You’ll realize the error of your ways in advance, and say:
Well, at least I know what not to be. “Thanks, douchebag.”