No, I didn’t make a mistake in the title, the question really is “Do you want to be your boss?” Next year, in 5 years time, 10 years time, or ever?
So, what do I mean? I think this is a great question to ask yourself if you are thinking about your current career and in particular if you have a little niggle about making a change, or feel that you are not where you thought you would be at this stage of your life.
So, have a look at your boss, or rather your boss’s role. Do you really want to move up that ladder to that position? I don’t necessarily mean her salary, holiday entitlements or company car. Sure, that would be great, but I mean the ROLE, the responsibility, the people management, the corporate meetings, the c-suite, or whatever it means to you. It may not be in the corporate world, it may be the principal of a school, or the manager of a shop, or a business owner.
You do? Great start: you already know what you want and, depending on your industry, there may be a clear ladder to climb. For example, in the Civil Service, there should be a fairly transparent system for promotions. If you’re a hairdresser working in a salon and you want to own a salon yourself, then you will already know some of the steps to take. Write out your goal and stick it up somewhere you can see it every day, see how it sits with you, and say it out loud. Write a clear step-by-step plan of what you have to do to achieve it and when you want to achieve it. Consider hiring a coach or mentor as your nearest and dearest will have some opinions of their own and these may be coloured by their own interests (maybe your partner doesn’t want you working all the hours, or maybe your mum is worried about your income, or maybe you have a friend who will encourage you to quit your day job immediately to start your own business without financial security). Caution and baby steps. Chunk it down and see what you can do today, this week, this month, in the next 6 months to move you further along the road. You may need to take a course to be eligible for the promotion.
But what if you take one look at your boss and say to yourself “No way do I ever want that job.” Then this may take a little more self-reflection. A few questions to consider:
What is it about your boss’s role that turns you off?
All the staff agro he has to put up with?
The financial stress he is under trying to keep the ship afloat if it is his own business?
The way she has to work seemingly 24/7 and is even on the phone whilst on leave?
Or is it something else that you don’t like that’s more fundamental? Maybe you just don’t like the industry that you’re in? Or the culture of your current workplace? Maybe some workplace decisions have left you uncomfortable?
Why do you not want to work your way up the ladder in this job?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? 10 years time?
The answer to the above questions will elicit your workplace values. What do you want work to be for you, or do for you?
Do you just want a pay cheque and none of the hassle of responsibility? That’s fine and maybe you’re fine where you are.
Or maybe the company just doesn’t fit who you are and you may wish to look at a move within your industry, but to a company with a better fit for you.
Or maybe a sideways move in your current company would suit best. For example, you like the company, but find accounts boring and would like to move to HR. What can you do to look into this?
Or it may be that you are in the entirely wrong profession or industry for you at this time, and if that is the case you need to look at what is it that you want a job to bring to you. What are your non-negotiables?
A word of caution though........... It’s easy to look at the position and see the person, so rather than asking if you want to be your boss, would you like, at some stage, to do your boss’s job?