Here’s a secret I hardly tell anyone: I never really liked being a boss. I enjoyed getting the paycheck and helping make key decisions. And I loved helping staff come up with ideas. But did I like being a direct manager? Not so much.
Somehow the actual day-to-day (read: boring) managerial responsibilities were hard for me to focus on. I like taking action. Although there is certainly more to it, managing is largely about being the nerve center and making sure action and communication happens all around you. And then taking action when some extra oomph is needed.
If you’re the one busy putting out all the fires, often all you can see is smoke. I’ve had managers tell me how miserable they are and how much more they enjoyed their job when they were NOT the manager. So if you aren’t happy in your manager job, please know you are not alone!
What things do you hate most about being a boss?
- Feeling the need to solve every problem
- Protecting your staff from awful upper bosses
- Annual review process
- Endless staff meetings
- Too much paper work
- Too much pressure
- Always fighting fires; no time to plan
- Endless demands from above and below
- Ever upward productivity spirals
- Staff with endless problems and few solutions
- Staff who do the bare minimum
- Staff who need constant reassurance and rewards
- Staff who feel they can get away with anything – and try to
- Feeling like you’re not doing anything you enjoy
- Feeling like your career took a wrong turn & you can’t go back
- Feeling trapped by all above
- Something else? Tell us about it!
Some final thoughts
Sometimes it’s not as much about being a manager as about the company or this particular managerial position. So before you decide that you never want to be a manager again, think about what bugs you most. And whether there are manager jobs elsewhere that would have more of the good stuff.
But if being a manager really isn’t working for you – and is making so many hours of your life miserable – it may be time to think about a change. Maybe you want to go back to school for a new specialty. Maybe you would be happier as an internal or external consultant.
Or maybe you would simply prefer a different level job – there are some non-managerial jobs that pay well. And even if not, any extra money you earn now in a higher-level job you hate, may just wind up being shelled out one day to pay for treatment of whatever condition stress helped cause. So what have you really gained … and what are you losing?
Would love to hear what bugs you most about being a boss or anything else you’d like to add!
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