There is a saying that people join companies and leave (bad) bosses. Over the years, I have found that many great employees simply quit for a better opportunity elsewhere. And others quit because they have a so-called “bad boss.” These people often resign and join another company hoping to find a better work environment. For some, it happens, and for others, well, not so much. And some weeks into the new job they find themselves wondering what has happened. The new boss has the same attitude as the old, just a different face. Now what? Resign again?
It might be uncomfortable, but don’t rush
Over the years in headhunting and career coaching, I have read tens of thousands of resumes and spoken to thousands of people around the globe. I have met many candidates in the first category. Those who simply quit their job for a better opportunity. And of course, I also got to know many of the second category. Candidates who wished nothing more than leaving their current boss right now! While this might be the dream scenario for every recruiter, you might work with (it screams “easy placement” and thus “easy money”), let me tell you: Think twice before you commit to your next job. Chances are you might be running into the very same scenario once again. As uncomfortable as the current situation is, better sit back and ask yourself some questions first. One question – which I admit is entirely counter-intuitive – is this one: What is right about this situation I am not getting? (also read here). If this feels “too strange” at the moment, no problem. In this case, start this way: Ask yourself what you really think about your career and work environment. Chances are you are running straight into your belief systems.
What is a belief system?
We have tons of daily routines we rely on without even noticing. They are in our careers, in our relationships, finances, living situations, etc. Over time we “programmed” them into our minds. Just like you would program a computer. We did so because we thought that they made our lives easier. And in a lot of ways, this is true. However, we have to understand that most of these little “belief programs” are not ours in the first place. Most of them we picked up during our upbringing. They come from our parents, teachers, and friends. Once we enter our professional lives, we add beliefs of our bosses and colleagues — all without noticing it. And because we aren’t raised (yet to pay attention to other people’s belief systems, we run our daily lives and careers with a magnitude of beliefs. Many of them are conflicting with each other. Imagine here two incompatible programs on your computer. What happens if you run both of them? Most likely, some sort of crash. Nothing else happens in your mind.
You hardly ever experience anything outside your belief systems
Beliefs can be positive and negative. They can even be both. Most of us have been raised to memorize the bad stories rather than the good ones. Seemingly bad stories led to conclusions about the world in general. And of course the work environment. These conclusions turn into beliefs you now build your life and career on.
Negative beliefs are sometimes hard to detect and even harder to admit to oneself. They can range from “I have to struggle for everything” to “I don’t deserve this job” and anything in between. And now comes the tricky part which directly inflicts your career and the seemingly “bad boss.” Most of us identify with their thoughts and beliefs so strongly that they can’t experience anything outside of it!
Let’s stay with a concrete example. You may hold the belief that you are unworthy of having this job. And you completely identify with it. Guess what happens? Your boss (and colleagues!) will prove nothing but precisely that over and over again. Even worse: Throughout your career, this will intensify. But what sounds like a real nightmare bears some wisdom. The intensification of a situation means you are over and done with it. In other words: It’s time to change! And this time, how about doing it differently?
How to get rid of belief systems that no longer serve you
Change always starts within. No exception! You might have heard the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” While everybody somewhat agrees to this, we often look at others wondering if they could change first. Or change on our behalf. But that doesn’t work! In other words: Your boss will most likely not change before you do.
Now, how do you change a belief? The ironic answer is, you don’t. Instead, so something else that works even better.
- Please understand that 98% of your thoughts, beliefs, and values are NOT yours, to begin with
- YOURS is only what YOU choose!
- Note that you can always choose again and that you are not bound to your choices.
Why is this so important? Over a long time, we have been told that we are our thoughts. We are not! We are way more than that. Thoughts and belief systems help us to create and perceive reality but we are neither – thought nor belief. Try this to find out. Go into an observer mode and start observing your thoughts. In the beginning, some meditative, instrumental music might help to relax. Observe your thoughts come and go. Don’t push them. Just observe. After a while, you might notice thoughts that were your fathers or your mothers. The more familiar you become with the process, the more you will notice that thoughts contain a certain energy. You might perceive it as dense (negative thoughts) or light (positive thoughts). Just play with it. And guess what? Beliefs are energy, too. Being in the observer mode, you now start choosing which thoughts are yours and which are not. Drop the beliefs you no longer need and move on. It’s really that simple!
Change is for yourself and nobody else!
Dropping your beliefs usually gets you results very quickly. As you changed, your outside will reflect this. Over the years, I have seen countless proofs of it in my own life and many others. When the internal change occurred, suddenly, a great job offer came in. Or a promotion. Or that a boss changed overnight to a degree never imagined before. I also remember a case where the boss resigned unexpectedly.
Speaking of possible outcomes, here is another important note: Don’t expect a change in a specific predetermined way. In other words, when you change to get a better boss, it won’t work. In that case, you make the change about him (or her) and not yourself. Change is always for yourself. And no, there is nothing selfish about the desire to change for yourself only. Please know that everybody makes his/her own choices, and there is nothing you can do about it. I know this sounds frustrating. And to be honest, it’s the hardest lesson I had to learn in my life. Not everybody wants to change, and we have to be okay with it. In this case, it’s really best to move on job-wise.