I work for myself but I haven’t worked in an actual office, with an actual team, during actual core hours in over a year.
It’s 2.23am right now. Most nights I fall asleep on my sofa and apart from a few exchanged text messages and giggles at a meme my boyfriend just sent, I haven’t interacted with anyone in 3 hours. All my friends have real jobs and real jobs call for real bed times. Despite what it sounds like, I’m not complaining. I’d much rather call it ‘honest career advice’ because maybe, just maybe, you’ll hold off on handing in that resignation letter if I tell you how you can become a boss without quitting your job!
I know you kinda-sorta-definitely hate your job because your real boss is super unappreciative and rewards none of your hard-work. I feel bad for saying this, especially since the opening scene of this article was somewhat of a pity party, but ‘man up and get over it’. You didn’t take the job to fall in love with your senior and ride off into the sunset. You’re there to build your skills, experience the industry, climb the ladder and cultivate a career of your dreams. Sounds like a killer plan to me!
Yes, you still have to report to your superior, but there are simple steps you can take to become the boss of your situation. Here’e how…
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
There is a huge amount of satisfaction that comes from a bullet pointed list full of ticks! Why? Because we feel great when we get shit done. Create a to-do list every morning with the tasks you aim to complete before the (mental) bell rings at 5.30pm. Once you smash through that list, week on week, push yourself and set higher challenges. Tasks such as writing the report in 35 mins, instead of the usual 45 mins is a great way to start. Through this, you can track, measure and celebrate your progress without once having to rely on your boss for a pat on the back.
Don’t sweat if other bosses high-five their team, openly praising each others advances and head to the pub every Friday to celebrate the week. You may not be acknowledged in the office but your achievements are real and relevant, especially when accumulated on your CV; which should be a snapshot of the actions and changes you’ve made within the roles you’ve held. Spend some time crafting your professional presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, this is exactly where you can show off about the who you are and what you do. You’re working harder on your future than you think AND totally bossing it, don’t be afraid to make some noise about it.
I once read that true success isn’t measured in possessions but rather in relationships. You may not be your bosses favourite flavour in the variety pack but your colleagues genuinely laugh at your jokes, invite you to grab lunch with them and add an ‘x’ or 2 at the end of their emails to you. You’re a great person and the people that matter have picked up on that.
One day, when the time is right, you’ll move on from this job. And if you haven’t noticed, nobody ever really meets up with their old boss for drinks and catch-ups anyway. In years to come, you’ll still be grabbing martini’s with your real work friends and reminiscing on old times, poor salaries and thanking God for progress. I’ll drink to that!
THINK BACK AND LOOK FORWARD
Remember the day you nervously started this job. As qualified as you were, there were some grey areas you had to figure out on the go. Looking at the job description, you may not have been entirely sure on how to do everything but you were hired and dedicated your time and efforts to learning what you didn’t already know.
Your skill set was smaller than it is now – it may be your writing, analysis or public speaking abilities that have improved. Imagine how advanced you’ll be when the right time comes to make your next career move. The relationship between you and your boss may have pushed you to the point of wanting to quit, but stick it out until you’ve learnt all that you set out to gain professionally from this role. You are progressing! You definitely won’t be taking your current boss to your next role but you sure will be carrying all your skills forward.