Is Your Boss Impeding Your Career?

March 27, 2017

Is Your Boss Impeding Your Career?

Good bosses do not impede employees’ careers. Good bosses give you opportunities to increase your competence and get ready for the next big step. Good bosses coach and encourage. However, good bosses are like good people; they are not found everywhere.

How do you know if your boss is being a jerk in this instance?

Your boss ISN’T necessarily trying to impede your career if he:

  • Is very demanding
  • Often forgets to say thank you
  • Won’t approve the time off for your dream vacation
  • Even yells and screams

Just because you dislike him for a particular reason doesn’t necessarily mean that he is out to stab you in the back.

Look for a pattern

Has your boss made it impossible for you to move onto some more interesting project more than once/get skill-building training, etc.? Just once may be exactly what he says—that you are too valuable at this particular point to let you go. But if it happens more than once, you may be experiencing this phenomenon.

When you might legitimately expect pushback

However, the timing may also be critical. For example, say you’ve been on the job for six months and have pulled off a brilliant coup—one that is generally recognized as exceptional. On the strength of that, you start to agitate for more challenging assignments or promotions. Your boss seems reluctant and you suspect him of impeding you.

Might not be, you know. The manager might legitimately want to see if this brilliant thing was a one-off or an indication of your exceptional worth. You know it’s the latter, but he may not. So he might want to see that your work is consistently at this high level before trusting you with more interesting work.

In addition, he might feel that since he has gone to all the expense and nuisance of hiring you, you owe him more than six months of work before you take off. I know that employees hate to hear that—it seems unfair and dog-in-the-mangery and exactly the kind of jerkiness we’re discussing. But it’s not unreasonable from his point of view—he’s hired you to get a job done not to further your career.

You don’t have to stick around until your boss believes that you have paid your dues (another annoying idea). However, if you want to move on relatively quickly after you have started a job, you should not be surprised if you get a negative reaction from your boss.

Next post: how to avoid the dangers of being too good at your job.

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