There is a saying, “People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”
That saying is true. I am one of the “lucky” ones to have worked under bosses that gave me the best experience in the corporate world.
That said, there was one year I worked under three different bosses in the same team, because no boss could last long with the constant pressure from management.
Also, in that one year, I saw a lot of my colleagues resign because they could not deal with the constant nitpicking and politics at the workplace.
The Lazy Boss
People often see bosses as a role model to their staff but unfortunately for me, I worked under a lazy boss.
How does one define lazy? In my perspective, this former boss of mine, Wanda* is often seeing doing her own personal things at workplace. She will surf the Internet to do online shopping. She will be doing everything except working.
Worst of all, she will always be missing-in-action. She will just disappear during working hours without informing her staff. If there is a need for decision-making, I will need to postpone it to the next day. Let’s just say that I can never rely on her to make a decision, especially when it comes to urgent matters.
She has never helped the team to solve problems because she is always MIA. There was an issue at work once that involved a minimal loss for a customer transaction. Everyone was frantically looking for a solution but of course, she was MIA once again. When the team finally solved that issue, she took the credit. Thank God that her stint as boss only lasted one year!
Ingrid* has to be the worst manager I have ever worked with. She constantly has things to say about the work I did.
It could range from the size of fonts, margins between two sentences, or even different colors used for different columns. Ingrid will never be happy with my work but guess what? She has never done any of the work that she was supposed to do.
Why? Because it is always easier to find someone to blame when things go wrong.
Work aside, she, too, wants to dictate when I take my annual leaves despite it being an entitlement given by the company. If I were to go on medical leave, she will call the doctor to check if I am actually sick. She micromanages every single thing.
The Baby Boomer
I worked under a boss who was part of the Baby Boomer generation. I know it’s not right to be judgmental about the whole generation. However, it is true that Baby Boomers have a very traditional mindset when it comes to working.
This former boss of mine, Rod* used to complain about the “olden days” where he was not allowed to leave the office after working hours if his boss was still at work. He complained about how the younger generation could not stay in a job for long because the younger ones cannot withstand long working hours.
The complaints continued for one year until Rod left the company.
The Mr Nice Guy boss is definitely not the type of boss that you want to work with if you are in sales and marketing. I worked under Simon* before he resigned and left for better opportunity.
Simon is not a bad boss. He, unfortunately, is a boss who will please everyone else except his own team. As a leader, Simon should always look after his staff and stand strong on the decisions he made for the team rather than constantly changing it to please other people in the company.
For a staff like myself, I struggled a lot because every month, I will have different direction to follow. All these directions given every month were not in sync with the company’s direction. Simon will always assure us with empty promises that he will do better for the team.
Nothing was done to improve the team and I slowly saw my colleagues resign one by one.
The Inexperienced One
I honestly believe a management role is not for everyone.
“You are an adult. You should take accountability for your own actions.”
That statement has landed me into a pot of trouble. How?
I got a warning letter from the company because my boss, Harold* missed out an email sent to him with regards to my training schedule.
That warning letter truly upset me because I trusted Harold to be a leader that leads me to better productivity and success. These aspects affect my bonus as well as increment and promotion.
Harold has never held a role in the management. As staff, we would try to cooperate as much as we can to make sure he is comfortable leading us. However, the constant disappointment from his decision-making dampened everyone’s motivation.
In fact, the team was constantly bullied by other stakeholders because Harold ok-ed everything.
The many bosses I worked with have taught me that being a leader is not easy. One day I could possibly land myself in such a role, but one thing’s for sure, I will do my best to not repeat the mistakes made by these bosses I worked with.
Perhaps, it is a better option to quit my job and be an entrepreneur.
*Not real names
For more articles about being a boss, read Horror Boss Stories: Malaysians Share Their Story with Us, and 4 Reasons Why You Should Change Your Job.