b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Can the Boss Kill Your Career?



Can the Boss Kill Your Career?

Believe it or not, YES.

I had dinner last night with a friend and former colleague of mine. She was telling me a story of this new boss she has. After a successful tenure with her current company, her job security is being threatened. I explained that it’s possible that the boss is just pushing her to do more, get more done… which she is doing. So, perhaps she’s doing exactly what he’s plotting. However, he has come in and eliminated others. My friend has an otherwise good reputation – and people know it.

The bottom line is: you can be great at what you do and still be 100% fired. It almost doesn’t matter what high regard others hold you in – if your immediate boss doesn’t like you, you’re going down. All it takes is one person to ruin your reputation and if left uncontested, your career.

The shame of it is that it boils down to personalities. If your boss doesn’t like you, well… it can be bad. Granted, this isn’t always the case… but it can, and does, happen.

Of course the boss is perfectly allowed to hate you for valid reasons:

-Come in late
-Abuse sick days
-Make the same stupid mistakes time and again
-Take extended smoke breaks
-Talk obnoxiously loud on your cell phone in the cubicle
-Have terrible manners
-Excessively abuse the Internet for your personal use

Whatever… I’m sure that list can go on.

So what do you do if you have a great track record and the boss still has it in for you? This happened to me… and it was just bad. In the case of my friend, she’s still in the early stages of developing a relationship with her boss. It’s important to learn what you can about them:

- What makes them tick?
- What are their goals?
- What are they looking for from you?
- How do they prefer to have the work done?
- Do they want to be in the loop or not?

However, if this is not the case and things take a sudden turn for the worse (as had happened to me), I’m afraid there may not be all that much that you can do. You can do everything right and still not be able to make it up in your boss’ mind. However, you can see about an internal transfer or look for another job elsewhere. Perhaps you can get HR involved but I’ve personally never had much luck with them. They’re interested in saving the company’s hide, not yours. Still, it would always be advisable to document everything you can in terms of meetings, conversations, project requests… anything that can come back to haunt you. At the end of the day though, your boss just might be a bat-$#@%-crazy P.O.S. that’s just itching to see you go. No amount of advice or doing a great job is going to matter. Although, you may be very happy when you do go and find something better anyway.

It’s just sad and unfair how much power your boss has over your career. Sigh.

Surely he can ;)

Check another rant: I hate everything about you, my boss!
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