Have you heard the saying that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses? When I actually stop to consider this concept, it makes perfect sense. A boss has an enormous impact on many employee variables including employment status, job performance, daily attitude, and even stress levels. Due to the fact that your employment life is somewhat centered around your supervisor, it makes sense that having a bad boss can make for an unhappy and unhealthy employment situation.
I’ve worked my fair share of jobs, and have been on both sides of this equation: I’ve been the employee, and I’ve been the supervisor. The “experience” portion of my resume can include many job titles, including chambermaid, data-entry clerk, cashier, marketing intern, restaurant hostess, trucking supervisor, and private tutor. Despite the varied experience, I can say with confidence that my supervisor, in each of these positions, had a direct bearing on my employment.
For instance, I had immense success working as a private tutor. Although my methods were (somewhat) unconventional, my employer had confidence in my abilities. That trust and support allowed me to flourish in the role, and yield positive results.
On the other hand, I’ve worked in scenarios where I felt undervalued and untrustworthy. While completing my post-secondary studies, I worked as a cashier for a major retailer. Each time I left the building (lunch, end of shift, etc.) my personal bag was searched. While I did understand the desire to limit theft, I did not appreciate the manner in which this was conducted. One particular manager would always make somewhat of a show of it, rifling through your belongings, asking questions about certain items. I’d leave the building with a deep sense of violation of privacy.
In each of these roles, my supervisor(s) had a direct bearing on my employment. As a tutor, my employer filled me with a sense of gratitude, expressed praise, and (obviously) trusted me to complete my job as described: I thrived. I tutored for as long as the opportunity would allow, helping my student expand his knowledge of the French language, and moulding myself into a more efficient, more understanding mentor. As for my job as a cashier: my supervisors demonstrated a fundamental lack of trust in their employees. I left the job as soon as financially possible, and never looked back.
A good boss can make a terrible job better, they can make your days brighter, and help you bring fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment to your life.
A bad boss can make a great job terrible, they can make your days darker, and put a damper on your career, and even life.