It’s Not You. It’s Your Boss.

I had a nightmare about a former boss from a few companies ago, a guy who, even during the interview, made it clear that he wasn’t really sure about me. My first few months on the job became about proving myself, which was difficult to do, as Boss shook his head whenever I had an idea, always forgot about our weekly chats, and never accompanied me for important client meetings. I don’t think I ever became worthy in his eyes before he quit for another company.

Without a manager, a plan, or any idea what I was doing, I held on for another few months until I found another gig (and with good timing, too. Pretty much everyone in the company had run for the hills by then). I kept thinking, why did he hire me if he didn’t believe in me? Why drag me through the mud all this time?

  1. It could be generational.  Gen Y-ers believe that work comes second. We’re taught to behave a certain way in the office, which isn’t exactly how we act in our personal lives. We’re taught to keep our cool, that money isn’t everything, but it could come off that we’re not passionate. Maybe our views on work/life just didn’t coincide.
  2. It could be because of my age and gender. A pride thing. Or a resentment thing. Isn’t it funny how you have to start at the bottom of a company because you need “experience,” and then teach your superiors how to use their computers?
  3. It could be that he was on his way out, and was never invested in my success. He had his own worries keeping him up at night.

Truthfully, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about it, and dreading any chance encounters I might have with the guy. In my dream, I told him exactly how I felt, about how he made me hate a job that I should have loved.

In real life, I might thank him for teaching me a few very important lessons.

If someone isn’t sure about you, don’t waste your time on that person. You’ll spend the next several months putting yourself through hell, and this can have a devastating effect on your confidence. You deserve to work with/be with a person who is happy to have you.

Go with your gut. How did that first conversation feel? The rest of your chats with that person will feel exactly the same way. Is this how you want to spend your work week?

Don’t doubt yourself. If an interviewer asks you “Do you honestly think you have what it takes to do this job?” Remind the interviewer that he called you. My favorite response to this not-so-polite question is “What was it that made you want to interview me?”

The bad economy is no excuse, and you can find another job. It may not be your ideal position, but you can find something. You just need to be flexible and humble, and willing to go out on a limb every now and then.

Start your search today, and don’t give Horrible Bosses another minute of your life.

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