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Follow Bosses Not Jobs

How to ensure your next boss is a hero, not a zero.

· Job Hunt,Managers,career success

Dear People Ops:

My manager is a nut job! He simply doesn't know how to manage, and to compensate he barks orders and then hides in his office all day without clarifying anything. Nothing gets done. I'm at my wits end about what to do. I've only been at this job for three months and he seemed so great during the interview process. I feel like I've been duped. Help!

Bad bosses are the top reason employees quit. We've all had them. I once had a boss who micromanaged everything I did, down to the margins I used. I used the standard width and he wanted it 0.05 inches narrower. Seriously. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a boss who gave absolutely no direction at all, and then was surprised when projects turned out differently from what she had envisioned.

But I've also had some pretty incredible bosses. Individuals who trained me, but gave me autonomy. Who advocated for me, but gave me candid feedback. People who made my job, if not as much fun as a day at Six Flags, an enjoyable and productive place to be.

It's so hard to tell who you're getting with a new boss at a new job. There is no fool-proof way to tell in advance if your potential future boss is a hero or a zero.

So why take the chance? Instead, as a friend once advised me, "follow bosses, not jobs." When you leave a job where you had a great boss, stay in touch. Keep an eye out to for the opportunity to work for them again. Ask them who they have worked for in the past or who has worked for them because good managers, more often than not, train other good managers. Ask your friends and colleagues about the best boss they've ever had and see if that boss is hiring.

Basing your career move on who your next manager will be, rather than the company or role, is a fresh way of approaching the job hunt process. And it's one that has the potential to make your next job a lot more rewarding.

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Cover photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

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