Great Boss > Great Job
I would like to first extend the definition of boss to refer to my co-workers and the environment that we work in, which can simply be defined as our “work” culture.
Let us begin with exploring the world to which I was introduced no more than 6 months ago. Around the end of summer 2015 I was given the opportunity of a lifetime — to be a part of the growth team at a Tech Startup in downtown Toronto.
The first rule of thumb that I noticed working at a Tech Startup was…
…the standard of working 9am-5pm went straight out the window (or door, whatever the saying is). BAM! Paradigm Shift. The closest thing to “punching in/out” that I encountered at my new company was fist bumping my co-workers (yeah, we’re that cool) by way of announcing my presence.
So, you’re probably wondering, “…how does this work?” Well, within the system where I work, we establish goals — annually, monthly, weekly, daily. Being the “Growth Newbie” that I am, I generally receive my assignments on Friday (or sometimes Monday), and am given the week to complete them. Depending on the task at hand, my days can start as early as 7am and end as late as 10pm. But it never feels as long as it may be. Within that window, exciting new strategies are developed and executed, company and self branding tactics are established and nurtured, exorbitant amounts of caffeine are consumed (naturally), and of course, countless foosball games and ping pong matches are won and lost. Yet, all the while, words, numbers, graphs etc., continue to populate our 27-inch LED Thunderbolt display indicating our ongoing progress.
Needless to say, I believe that staying within the standard of 9am to 5pm decreases the window of opportunity for learning and success. Most importantly, where I work, you don’t leave when the clock hits a certain time, you leave when the job is done. From the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep, I never stop learning.
What? Where? Who do I learn from?
I learn from my boss, and my boss is(are) the one(s) who is(are) teaching me. I’m learning from their experiences, their mistakes, their theories, their opinions, and their perspectives. The mistakes I’ve made (of which there are many) are kindly corrected by my boss, when they/he/she explains to me what I did wrong and how I am going to fix it. Sometimes though, my boss will give me space to solve the problem on my own…but always with gentle shoves in the right direction if/when I veer off.
BAM! Great Boss > Great Job.
It’s all about that Tender Love and Care (#Mushy)
Two months in is when I started to realize I really enjoy working here. [I use the word “work” quite loosely here, solely because apparently one cannot have fun while working (again, something I was told by “grown-ups” as a child).] The TLC that I received from my boss is something I definitely take for granted sometimes, but it is one of the reasons I love working here. I also get to “work” with some of the smartest people I have ever met in my life, and am able to ask them unlimited questions without fearing judgment or scoffing at some of my less profound musings. (Truly, the main reason why I love working here is because they never stop encouraging me to keep learning by asking “stupid” questions.)
BAM! Great Boss > Great Job.
Grab your highlighter, this last bit is straight Fire
In my opinion, there are two things that are essential for one to achieve “success” in his/her career. One, having a great boss, and two, actually enjoying the work you do. (Are you starting to feel the heat yet?)
Therefore, I think having a great boss holds much greater value than having just a great job. A great boss will expand your knowledge, teach you countless invaluable lessons, and will mentor you in your career each step of the way. Trust me, that’s way better than a cool title, corner office and a high salary. (insert Nelly — “Hot In Here” GIF)
Thus, this post is not is so much about the “right” or “wrong” way to pursue a career, but about the fact that we’ve been conditioned to believe that having a great job will solve all (or most of) our problems. So we go looking for a job with a cool title, a corner office or a great view of the city, waterfront, whatever is your cup of tea, and a six-digit salary. And I don’t know whether or not that is the wrong approach — I’m only 22 after all — but I want to shed some light on the mere possibility that there may actually be “another” way.
At this moment in time, I truly believe that we should look for a career that we enjoy AND has a great boss. This is what I am currently experiencing and the way I see it, a great boss will provide you with a great job but a great job will not necessarily provide you with a great boss. (Stop, drop, and roll cause that right there is fire. Yeah, you just got hit by fire. You’re on fire.)
All joking aside, I just wanted to say thank you to my boss and to you, the reader. I’ve learned SO many lessons from this group of guys (and one girl) and I plan on carrying these lessons with me for the rest of my career.
Random Fun Fact: During my Christmas break, I actually found myself looking forward to going back to work. The moment you feel excited to be back at your desk over sitting on your couch binge watching TV or aimlessly “hanging out” is the moment you know you really like “work”.
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Thanks for reading!!
DISCLAIMER (to current and future employers): This is not a plug for brownie points, however, if I do receive any, I will happily accept them.