It has been just over seven years since I started working in the corporate world. Seven whole years! And in this time, I have been blessed to have very supportive and encouraging mentors. From a confused student to a working mom, and wife, I have changed as a person. And, as I climb further up the ladder and add more experience to my CV, I cannot help but wonder just where I would be now if I didn’t have a good boss.
We see many people hopping from one company to the next in pursuit of either fulfilment or a nice salary. But one question that has played on my mind is what actually makes everyone else stay. Is it the money? Is it the corporate culture? Or is it the career prospects that one can look forward to?
While I cannot answer this question for the masses, I have been able to identify what that ‘it’ factor is for me. I won’t share everything, but here is the general overview of what I value in a job.
My corporate background
My first job was an accident. And no, I didn’t accidentally apply to the wrong company. I actually applied indirectly without intending on applying for the job.
Ok, let’s take a step back for this to make sense.
As a fourth-year student in university, I spent the year working part-time and enjoying life. It was only possible because I completed all of my credits by the third year. My intention was to spend a year as an exchange student, but plans changed. So instead, I worked hard and played harder.
As a fourth-year student in university, I spent the year working part-time and enjoying life. Initially I intended on spending a year as an exchange student, so I finished all of my credits by third year. Unfortunately, plans changed, so I did what I could – enjoy a gap year before having to worry about a real job.
When graduation started approaching, I decided to apply for a Master’s degree since I could hadn’t really decided on which career path to take. I know, I know, further studies when I hadn’t even decided on a field… Don’t question my choices, it made sense back then!
One fine day, I attended a conference that my dad was hosting since my calendar was free. And during a short interval, the CEO of an international company struck a conversation with me by the coffee station. By the end of the ten-minute conversation, I had secured a job and had his business card nestled in my purse!
So yes, it was a complete accident on my part, but we’ll call it fate for now. I had no idea that one simple cup of coffee would change my life forever.
And let me tell you, God has an interesting sense of humour. I was excited to be starting a role in the marketing only to find out that I was placed in the finance department!
So now that you know where I came from, let’s dive into what makes me value a good boss over a big salary.
A good boss will focus on your career progression
Seven years after the coffee encounter, I am no longer in finance. In fact, that portion of my career lasted only eighteen months before I realised that it wasn’t for me. And just as should be expected from me, I landed my second (and current) job accidentally as well.
If you ask me where I see myself professionally in ten years, my honest truth is that I don’t know. I have a general idea of what I would like to be doing, but my entry into the corporate world has proven that flexibility is a key component of my growth.
Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, and I’m sure most people prefer having a clear path. But I just haven’t had that epiphany yet. And yet, with a good boss, and mentor, I have steadily climbed up the ladder and earned respect.
Money will buy you shiny things, but there are more things that go into a successful career. Of course, no one would want to work in a place that doesn’t offer growth opportunities. But what good is working in a place where you may or may not have the opportunities but no one to guide you?
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Having someone who makes every aspect of your job a learning opportunity is the key to setting a proper foundation.
I’ve learned that every task is important to the bigger picture. But it isn’t something that I found out on my own. A good boss will make sure that you are constantly learning – be it through experience or by taking courses. A good boss will also make you understand that the simplest tasks contribute to the bigger picture.
When it comes to choosing a job that pays a higher salary or working for a boss that has my best interests at heart, I choose the boss every time. And as a millennial who has big dreams of owning several properties and traveling the world, it is crazy to think that money isn’t top of my list. It wasn’t always this way. Having a good boss has helped me see things through a new lens.
A good boss will get you paid… and then some
The thing about a boss that genuinely cares about you is that they will also make sure that you are compensated for the work you do. I’ve been lucky enough to have two managers that cared enough about me as a person that they even knew my family members by name. They were also invested enough to care about my personal ambitions and support my growth.
When I needed to make a down payment on a lifelong dream, that bonus number surpassed my expectations. When I needed to move countries to be with my husband, my boss overrode a hiring freeze and made it happen.
And if you don’t have a good boss…
… move – you’re not a tree!
Even though I have been extremely lucky to work under great management, I know it isn’t always going to be the case. So if that is you and you are struggling, know that there are good people out there. You don’t have to stay in the same place working under someone who won’t help you grow.
We spend ten hours a day on average in the office, so it needs to be an enjoyable experience. If that isn’t the case for you, go and find yourself a good boss.