You don’t leave a job. You leave a boss. That’s a saying that’s been articulated over and over again by experts. So when you can’t stand your boss, how long should you stick it out before calling it quits? When assessing whether it’s time to throw in the towel because of a boss, I like to use a simple 2-factor criteria:
- Niceness (for lack of a better term)
If my boss is not great at their job, i.e. a moron, but is generally a good person who treats me well, and defends the team, I’d probably stick it out for a bit until something better comes along. Genuinely nice people who have your back are hard to come by in the workplace, and should not be taken for granted. Plus, it’s probably not that much of a hardship to work with a nice person, and your competence at work might even shine brighter to the higher ups when compared to your boss.
If my boss is competent at their job, but a horrible person, I might still want to work for them because it may help me professionally in the long run. It could be a technical skill, how they masterfully manage (ok fine, manipulate) stakeholders to support them, or how they get people to work for them despite being a moron. Whatever it is, if there’s something they do that would be useful to my next career move, I’d put up with the nastiness until I learn to do it myself.
Of course, this is an incredibly simplistic way of looking at it, but treat these two criteria as a baseline test. If you’ve hit the jackpot – your boss is neither a competent nor a nice person – it might be wise to start browsing those job ads sooner rather than later.