You work long hours. You’re always on time, you take short lunches, and you’re the last to leave. You produce ideas: perhaps you came up with a new filing system, suggested a new computer program, or redirected an entire project. You always bring your A-game, yet your boss never seems to congratulate your progress.
It gets worse: while he pulls up in his brand new sports car every morning, you still struggle to make payments on your fifteen-year-old Chevy. While he dons his diamond Rolex, you glance down at your bare wrist. While he pays off his million-dollar house, you scrape up just enough to rent a one bedroom apartment.
You hate your boss.
You chalk it up to the greedy one percenters that have invaded our society. The Wall Street type. The type that feeds on the hard work of their underlings.
But perhaps there’s something you don’t know about your boss.
YOUR BOSS WAS JUST LIKE YOU
In most cases, your boss was once in your position. S/he wasn’t always a CEO or President; perhaps your boss worked at Mr. Chicken or Taco Bell as a young adult. Maybe s/he became a salesman or HR representative later in life, thereby stepping into the business world. At some point, your boss might have become a manager of a small firm. The route that s/he took to leadership could have taken any direction, from restaurant work to the office.
THE FIRST BUSINESS FAILED
Often, entrepreneurs follow a long, arduous road to success. They might open multiple organizations before finally making it to the big leagues. If your boss created the organization at which you work, s/he probably failed many times before that.
YOUR BOSS TOOK RISKS
If your boss is an entrepreneur, s/he probably took out risky loans and maxed out many credit cards in order to create the organization. Your boss might have worked in a basement or warehouse, struggled to buy food for the family, and woke up every morning asking “What did I do?” Without perseverance and stubbornness, your boss could have easily sunk into bankruptcy, unemployment, or worse.
YOUR BOSS TAKES FINANCIAL HITS
During financial crises, your boss might go without a paycheck so that you can keep your job. For example, during the Great Recession of 2008, some empathetic employers chose to take the hit themselves rather than laying off more employees than necessary. They thought about your families and how you would provide. Of course, these employers still had to cut back the workforce to a degree, but the cutbacks would have been much more substantial without them.
YOUR BOSS DOES IT ALL
While you manage yourself or a team of employees, your boss manages everyone and everything. S/he wakes up before you and goes to bed after you and constantly has business on his/her mind. While you watch TV at the end of the night, hoping for just an hour of relaxation, your boss answers emails. While you play with your kids in the backyard on Saturday afternoon, s/he sacrifices family time for work. Your boss seldom has time for a night out on the town, and if this pleasure is to be had, the work phone comes along.
While your boss might appear successful on the surface, s/he has made many sacrifices to get to that point. Every day is a constant battle for time, and each milestone brings a new challenge. Rather than viewing your boss as the enemy, try to view your boss as simply another human being. This human being just happens to have a lot of drive, take many risks, and juggle many tasks each and every day.