“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost
Plenty of employees love to hate their boss, but what about you?
Maybe you resent the tasks you’re saddled with. Perhaps you’re fed up of being micro-managed. Maybe you have aspirations to jump in the hot seat yourself.
Despite usually falling into either the “love ’em” or “hate ’em” camp, life is far from straightforward for the boss.
Whether you’re tiring of your own boss, have future ambitions to climb the corporate ladder, or you’re already enjoying the perks power, let’s take a look at some of the things only bosses would understand.
1. You can’t switch off.
Far from being able to clock-out and skip cheerily to the nearest bar without a care in the world, you carry your burdens with you everywhere you go. You’re constantly reminded of tasks that haven’t been done. Always thinking of what tomorrow will bring, never being able to completely let go.
And then there’s your staff. Are they on your side? Motivated? Happy?
It’s easy to underestimate all the pressure that running a successful business brings.
2. You know they’re talking about you.
Being a boss means making tough decisions. It means keeping your distance. Sometimes, it even means that you’ll have to part company with good people, despite knowing the devastating financial implications that will bring.
On occasion, you’ll need to ruffle a few feathers. In better times, you’ll be patting people on the back and offering words of encouragement.
No matter the situation, though, you’ll always be the focus of attention. Always the talking point. With any luck, you’ll be the subject of kind words and admiring glances. But experience tells me you’re going to have to get used to being the bad guy.
3. You don’t understand why your staff don’t give a flying fig.
I hate to break it to you, but most people really don’t care that much about how well the company is doing. I mean, sure, some will appreciate the overtime and almost everyone is glad to have a job, but they’re definitely not that bothered about hitting sales targets or breaking any productivity records.
It’s a job. They clock-in, they clock-out. And they want that unfortunate time in-between known as work to be as easy and painless as possible. If they can get away with doing just a little bit less for the same rewards, they will.
Sorry about that.
4. You work more but earn less.
One of the biggest misconceptions about bosses and business owners is that they are swimming in cash. But those fortunate souls who are running a business often work far longer hours, and for less money than they pay their employees. Paid overtime doesn’t exist once you ascend the ranks. If your workload requires you to work long into the night, that is what you must do.
And there’ll be no slap on the back, no gratitude—just the murmurings of your staff, wondering why you’re tired and grouchy today.
5. You don’t have anyone to turn to.
There is a security blanket afforded to employees: Mess up a task and a helping hand is never too far away. Need some advice? You’re co-workers will invariably steer you in the right direction.
As a boss, though, you’re on your own. Mistakes are reflected in the bottom line. Rash judgments are now brutally exposed to all. The buck stops with you.
6. You’re drowning in bullshit.
Far from being the glamorous gig that many imagine, being a boss means you’ll be dealing with many infuriating, time-sucking tasks. Even with a great team to delegate work to, you’d better get used to dealing with daily mundane queries and tackling an assortment of unexpected issues.
Get used to morphing from trusted confidante, motivator, relationship counselor, bad cop, good cop, life coach and everything in-between: Everyone is going to want a piece of you.
7. You don’t sleep as well
Being the boss takes its toll. The targets, budgets, arguments, appraisals, hiring, firing and selling can leave you a frazzled shell of your former self. Late nights and early starts wear you down and cause you to question every decision and thought. Which then means you start to doubt the outcome. It’s a vicious circle.
No more drifting off into a dreamy, blissful slumber for you—Waking to a cold sweat, fretting about looming deadlines is now the norm.
8. You don’t know what the hell you’re doing.
You’re not always right. And sometimes, you’ll need to make a decision or take a stance purely on gut instinct. It’s a fine balance.
Your team need to know you’re in control. But now and again, you’re not. The trick, is to never appear flustered; always projecting a sense of calm and control… despite not having the slightest clue how things are going to pan out.
9. You don’t even know why you’re doing this.
What with the stress, the hours, the pay, the lack of praise and the general disinterest of others, you can be forgiven for doubting your cause, because being a boss is mainly a thankless task.
People expect their wages on-time, every-time. They expect thanks, praise, direction and understanding. The tough decisions, acts of kindness and carefully planned long-term strategies largely go unnoticed.
But that’s fine, because…
10. You wouldn’t have it any other way.
There’s that little something that burns inside of you—a flame that very few possess.
It means that no matter how hard your day, or how difficult the path you tread, you simply couldn’t contemplate settling for mediocrity. Fleeting temptations to jack it all in and take the easy option are just that. They barely last a few moments.
You have to push on. You have to improve. You have to better yourself.
And these are things that only bosses would understand.