Have you ever being led by a bosshole? You know, a boss who runs the management by bullying employees, in the leadership-by-bullying style? If you haven’t, you are losing out probably the biggest opportunity to personally and professionally develop yourself.
Here’s my 9-to-5 story
Prior to jumping onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon, I was working for 11 months for a university, in the IT department. The interesting thing is that I was actually graduated from the same university. Dedication? Um, maybe… but it’s more like working in an environment I am familiar with.
With my background in IT, I felt that it’s probably a good idea to put what I learned into practice by working in my university’s IT department as a web programmer. I was kinda wrong, but it was a blessing in disguise.
Let me explain.
I was actually applied as a database programmer as I know SQL and database management. But as the university needs to build a career mini-site for job recruitment purposes, I was then appointed as a web programmer by the head of the IT department; someone that my senior colleagues considers as what now called a “bosshole.” Let’s just say that my colleagues think that she’s a bully. Me? I think she’s a bit challenging to deal with, but I don’t have any problems with her.
Now, I knew nothing about web programming other than HTML, and since day one I was told that I need to learn PHP/MYSQL – from scratch. I protested, but she assured me to learn PHP/MYSQL and give a deadline of 3 months to get the career site ready.
A grand challenge
As a fresh grad, I was in dismay. How can I learn a programming language that is new to me, AND completed the site in 3 months time?
Well, I didn’t complain, and I work hard since day one to learn PHP/MYSQL. It was a pain learning about it on a daily basis – WITHOUT any mentor or any certification programs. I was on my own.
After a couple of weeks, I finally grasp the idea of PHP/MYSQL. PHP.net and Google were my best friends.
So I started to build the site ground up, from front-end to back-end – all involves PHP hard-coding.
“Why didn’t you use WordPress or other CMS?” you might ask. Well, WordPress was founded in 2003. Drupal was started in 2000. I took the job in 2001, and in where I live, there is no CMS available to help me build the site.
Moreover, the site involves a custom back-end that even today’s CMS can’t really accommodate.
I thought that learning PHP/MYSQL and building the site ground up were my worst. It’s not.
My boss was doing well in keeping me challenged, but on some occasions, the challenges were gone too far.
The changing requirements. The lack of technical guidance. These things are a couple of many things that often frustrate me.
To cut long story short, in the midst of trial-and-tribulations, I finally completed the project in 1.5 months, ahead of the scheduled 3 months. Quite a feat, to be honest with you, especially under such pressure.
I finally quit the job – not out of frustration, but I was pursuing a postgrad degree overseas.
That 11-month tenure was – and still is – a lesson well learned. Even quitting after 11-month out of my 12-month contract is through a successful negotiation with my challenging boss.
So, what’s the point of this story?
Well, I know that some of you are having a hard time keeping up with your boss’ quirky antics. However, I would like to take this opportunity to show you that working for a bosshole can be one of your best ways to grow personally and professionally.
Working for a bosshole is beneficial
Here are the benefits I get from working for a bosshole:
1. I learn to deal with difficult people
“Bosshole” is coined to describe a difficult boss. Working for a challenging boss, I learned to understand what she is ask of me, and respond accordingly. I also learned to find ways to impress her with my work (yes, she was impressed with my work.)
I learn to negotiate, learn when to say no, learn when to say what, and so on – important skills I acquired from my 9-to-5 job that help me a lot in my entrepreneurial journey.
2. I learn to work under pressure
From knowing nothing about PHP/MYSQL to finishing a project ahead of schedule, I was under constant pressure on a daily basis. I need to learn fast, and I need to start working on the project as soon as possible.
I was stressed out sometimes, but I overcame it and take on the challenge. Today, I can say, “Pressure? What pressure?” – thanks to the 11-month tenure.
3. I learn to work on an uncertain environment
If you are a project manager or an entrepreneur, I’m sure you are aware that uncertainty is your daily challenges. Things happen, and you need to respond to the changes well.
From my 9-to-5 job, I learn that the changing requirements have taught me to be always vigilant; to be always on my toes and be prepared to respond to the changes with the right attitude.
This has helped me in my entrepreneurial journey – a great deal.
4. I can learn and become anything with my back against the wall
We perform better when we have our back against the wall. I just can’t flunk my first job. That wouldn’t be great for my CV. So, I HAVE to be able to do the tasks at hand.
I learn about PHP/MYSQL while at work AND at home. I continue to hone my programming skills and finally I was able to take on the project with the newly found knowledge.
Today, I still pretty much do what I was did while working as a web programmer: I learn everything myself. I learn online marketing, SEO, link building, WordPress, web building, virtual team management, website flipping, and so on -thanks to my boss.
Before you go…
If you are thinking about quitting, you might want to reconsider. There are plenty of benefits working for a bosshole, and when you finally call it a day to pursue other career paths, including entrepreneurship, you’ll realize that what you learn while working under tough management is beneficial for your future.