A lot of people are on the move or at least considering it right now. The market is hot for talent. For years I have said your boss is more important to your satisfaction (and sanity) than your job description is.
When I have brought this "boss approach" up in classes participants agreed in principle. But their reality was, their boss could change 4 times in 18 months in a big corporation. Re-orgs, shuffling assignments, general unrest and churn lead to unpredictability as to who your boss is
and all that is totally beyond your control.
This points to a couple of the “new realities" of corporate life. Often times big corporations are not the safe havens any more that people joined 20 years ago. They are not source of stability and predictability in life anymore. They are frequently the opposite.
I have been blessed with great bosses, Dave Rodgers when I was 16, CJ Howley when I was at Curity/Curad, Dick Kellogg when I was at Coors and the best of all Susan. All taught me tons and treated me with respect and they were totally different human beings.
I challenge you to look at the great bosses you have had and the effect they have had on your life and likewise the bad bosses and the damage done to your life.
One of my all time favorite clients chased job titles for 20 years and had a string of seriously crazy bosses who made her life miserable. Finally she followed my advice and chose a boss not a job title, and has never been happier. She lost a little on bragging rights for her title but saved a lot on therapy and antacids. I have clients who have mastered this long before they ever met me. Those are the ones that change departments, areas and companies to continue working with the same great boss.
I don’t claim this approach is fool proof but does drastically improve your odds of having job satisfaction. And I didn’t say the bosses were perfect I said "great". Look, I know this sounds weird for those who have not lived this way. But boss shopping is not unlike networking for any other job. If you have been in a company for a while you may already know a great boss you would like to work for.
For me two of the best bosses I am currently working with come from a medium sized and one very small company. Be careful of sorting yourself right into the mess you are currently in by merely selecting a different big company with the same set of frustrations. So many big companies share the “too big to make a quick decision” malady when quick decisions are what the world requires for success these days. The layer of "survival politics" swirling in big companies is grating and disgusting waster of time. Also watch out for the mythology that only a big company can meet my compensation needs.
Smaller companies tend to have a more stable set of players and easier to identify the great from the not great boss choices.
One of the great bosses I am thinking of popped his head into my class last week and said “here, we don’t use people to get work done, we use work to get people done”. Though he shared with me he stole that from his minister four years ago the mere attempt to live consistent with that motto could make you a pretty great boss.
We invite your comments and stories about bosses great or not.