My first job out of college I got incredibly lucky — I unwittingly stumbled into working for a remarkable boss.
The job itself was unglamorous. I was working as an administrative assistant at a B2B consulting/SaaS company. But I had a boss that was thoughtful, talented, and saw potential in me.
She encouraged me, gave me increasing responsibilities, vouched for me. I was incredibly ambitious and largely ignorant about how to do B2B (business to business) marketing, but she saw how quickly I was learning and helped me figure out how to expand both my role and impact at the company.
As a result, I left that job with a resume that said things like “implemented” and “led” instead of “assisted” and “maintained.”
My next boss was not someone I immediately liked personally. But he was incredibly smart about analytics and data which was a gap I wanted to fill in my skill set. I wanted to learn from him.
So I took the job.
On my first day he introduced me to databases and taught me the basics of how to write SQL. When I told him our marketing sucked and we could do much better, his response was, “Let’s do it.”
He gave me the space to try new things, some of them which turned out to be really bad ideas, some of them are things I’m incredibly proud of.
He cleared the path, and gave me access to resources. When we started producing research reports that were generating a ton of new leads, he didn’t hesitate to hire a data scientist.
When I left that job I could talk about growth, business impact, and building a team not just program management and pageviews.
Working for a bad boss sucks the life out of you and your career. Working for a good boss is fun and pleasant. Working for a great boss can change the trajectory of your entire career.
It doesn’t matter what the job descriptions says, when you work for a great boss (and do great work) you will inevitably find yourself working on high impact projects.
You will find doors opening.
You will feel yourself growing.
A great boss is a mentor, but with the added benefit of holding influence with the “higher-up’s.” They see the success of the people who work for them as a direct reflection of their own success, and because of that, they invest crazy amounts of time in the people who work for them…this will often continue even after you no longer work for them.
So when you’re looking for your next job, pay a little less attention to the details of the job. Don’t be distracted by a big salary or a flashy company name. Look closely at your boss.
- Is this a person that you respect and trust?
- Are they great at something? And is that a thing you want to be great at?
- What kind of jobs do their direct reports get after working for them? Are they making lateral moves? Are they moving up in the company? Are they switching to new companies with big title changes?
- Do they make an effort to get to know you and understand what motivates you?
- Do you leave conversations with them feeling motivated, challenged, excited?
Who you work for is exponentially more important than the work you do. If you want to accelerate your career, spend a little more time finding a great boss.
This article was first published on HubSpot's Thinkgrowth.org