John, who lives a couple of streets over, is a screenwriter. He's a quick wit and kids around incessantly with everyone he meets. We have a good time trying to top each other to get a laugh.
Today he spotted me in Trader Joe's at the test-kitchen and came up behind me.
“Ugh, I can’t eat that,” he said, referring to my delicious snack. “You know where I can find the tofu?”
I know this store like the back of my hand. “Do you see that lady over there? She's right by it,” I said.
“I have to go stand next to her?” John mock-complained.
“Oh, I’ll protect you! If you want, I can just body-check her into the cheese aisle.” (John is a very large guy who could certainly take care of his own body-checking.)
“Aw, you’d do that for me? That’s nice. So what are you doing in a store on a Wednesday at 2 PM? Do you work nearby here?”
“No, I work from home.”
“So do I!” said John. “The only problem with working from home is that my boss is an asshole,” he chuckled.
“Oh my god, mine too!” I said, going with it, like you do. “She can't make up her mind what I'm supposed to do at any given moment.”
“I know, right?” said John. “Fix the printer. No, wait! Balance your checkbook! No, go make some money…”
“So what are you here to get?” asked John.
I decided to up the ante. “I came here for just one thing. No, two things! Actually, three things!”
“Wow, I hate working for your boss!” he deadpanned.
And it hit me. A lot of us really do have bad relationships with the boss - when we’re our own boss!
It sounds like a punchline - “I hate working for my boss – and I’m self-employed!” <rimshot>
But for a lot of us who work for ourselves, it maybe is kinda… true.
Imagine if you were working a “normal” job and your boss kept switching you to a new project on a whim. Or kept changing the goal line when you got near it. Or nitpicked the work you put your heart and soul into.
You wouldn’t like that, would you?
Well, don’t be that boss to yourself.
Research shows we prefer working for bosses who appreciate what we are doing for them. Who give us some latitude in how we carry out the work as long as a few clear goals are met. Who can draw a direct line between the work we carry out today and the big picture that we’re trying to achieve in the world.
What would be the number one thing we can do to become the kind of boss to ourselves that we would enjoy working for?