The MOST Important Part of Your New Job MAY Be Your Boss

The MOST Important Part of Your New Job MAY Be Your Boss

I had a conversation recently with someone contemplating a new job – and we touched base on everything from the company prospectus to the projected earnings to the “street’s” prediction for future growth.


It was a great discussion – but we almost managed to miss on one of the most important elements – and one that is overlooked by far too many of us considering either a job or a career change.


It’s easy to look at the physical characteristics of a company or the scope of the new job responsibilities – and allow that to dictate the decision.


If I could do it over – when I consider the various roles I assumed over the course of my career – I would have paid a LOT more attention to something I knew was important at the time but simply chose to ignore.


Want to pick the best indicator of how happy you will be in your next position?


Take a close…very close look at the person you will be reporting to. I mean a microscopic level type of look.


The number one source of your job satisfaction likely won’t tie back to your compensation, your benefit package, or any of the other “perks” that can obscure your view.


All are important to be sure – but they often pale when stood up against your boss. And I mean a whiter shade of pale as in INVISIBLE.


Ask 100 people to describe their benefits package and many will struggle.


Ask that same group to talk about their company’s earning’s projections and expect blank stares.




Since so much of what I have learned reflects the “hard way” school of personal development, here’s a couple of questions I might have whispered in my own ear at critical junctures in my career journey. I call them Prospective Boss (PB) Factors – and my ability to answer each BEFORE making a move would have made a difference.


  • How does your personality line up with the PB? Is there alignment?  Did you feel comfortable in the interviews – enough so that you are prepared to gamble (potentially) years of your professional life?
  • How clear was your PB on what he or she will expect from you?
  • What is the PB’s track record – either with this company or before?
  • How interested was the PB in you in the interview versus your skill sets and how you will contribute to the company?
  • How many questions were you allowed to ask in the interview(s) and how would you assess the sincerity of the responses?
  • Philosophically – was there alignment? From a values standpoint – same?
  • When the interviews were complete – and if this position paid the exact same as every other job opening – how highly would you rank its appeal?


Years ago, when my family and I were readying for one of many relocations we made early in my career, we were contemplating a new house in a new state – one that all of us really fell in love with.


On a whim I decided to drive by alone one afternoon and eyeball the residence a final time and, seeing one of the neighbors nearby – pulled over to talk.


I told the very gracious lady we were considering the house across the cul-de-sac and asked how she liked the neighborhood.


She loved it – and I began to think about my opening offer.


And the schools – great, she said.


At that point I was asking myself if we could afford the upgrades we would want to make.


And that particular house we were looking at?


“Wonderful,” she answered. “Well built home and the builder has an impeccable reputation.”


Game – set – match. I thanked her and started on my way.


“And I don’t think they have any problems with those dirt bikers anymore.”  She added.


“Excuse me?”


“The dirt bikers – on that trail behind your new house – in the natural area.  They are out there all times of the day and night – but I really think they have that under control now.”


The rest of the story is anticlimactic. I traveled a LOT. I had NO PLANS to put my wife and two little boys within 10 miles of dirt bikers who treated our new back yard like their personal race way.


Here is what I learned – and how it applies to your potential new job or career.


Save yourself a LOT of guessing – talk to the neighbors.


Any co-worker, employee, kitchen worker, or doorman who interfaces with your PB – get the low down.


NOW – not later.


Short of a CIA background check you owe it to yourself to know before you buy.


That PB will either be a catalytic agent that will help propel your career – or an obstructionist that short-circuits it.


Do more than pick your next job stop – do your home work.


Pick your boss.

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