Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Chris Rock…

Here, on the most awkward of “celebrated” office days, it seems appropriate to share my own reflections about becoming a “boss.” Being put in a people-manager position, like a lot of things, should also come with the warning of “careful what you wish for” ~ management status provides its own share of uncomfortable moments (like when your employees feel they have to give you a gift on “Bosses Day”) but there are more subtle lessons along the way that remind you: “You know you’re a boss when….”:

  • You actually have to remind yourself to make a distinction between “friendly” and “friends.” We’ve all had a boss (or two) that is a nightmare, but I’ve also had a couple that were bonafide friends – that’s a dicey situation, but you see more of the barriers being broken down as a younger generation enters the workplace….”You know you’re a boss” when you really begin to empathize with your own boss – a lot of us look at the elevated title, income, and status, but have no real reference for the other side of the coin; increased responsibility, increased accountability, increased blood pressure – most of which your direct reports never see (and are certainly uninterested in hearing about them)….You know you’re a boss when you come to terms with this fact that “yes, they probably ARE talking about you behind your back.” Did you really think you were this funny? Do you believe your ideas are always “brilliant!”? To make up for that nonsense, your directs probably throw a few darts at your face later in the evening. That’s what people do….
  • You know you’re a boss when your workday ends at 5pm, then kicks back up around 8pm.
  • You know you’re a boss when your role at the office Happy Hour changes – you’re there to fund, not necessarily to participate. You can’t afford to show your a** to the people who work for you, and yes – they are watching.
  • You know you’re a boss when (similar to parenthood) you find yourself saying things you swore would never come out of your mouth – i.e., “working remote is a privilege, not a right!
  • You know you’re a boss when some of your suspicions are proven true – bosses really do have favorites, and try as you might to maintain objectivity, your other direct reports can easily determine who the “favorites” are. It’s like being a Little League coach for your son/daughter’s team – you’re almost obligated to start treating your favorites with more scrutiny, lest you raise the ire of the rest of the team.

It ain’t easy being the boss. Your flaws become magnified, and many of your strengths from your previous role are innate – you find it hard to “teach” things that come naturally to you. There will be times of self-doubt and times where your workload seems overwhelming, but that’s the job you signed up for…so, on this day, let’s give the boss a break. Because starting Tuesday, it’s right back in the fire.