Would you want to be the boss?

I’m not asking about any specific job - just curious about where people see their future in any career. The reason I ask - when I was in the Navy, there was big emphasis on training and advancing, both in enlisted and officer ranks. In my current job, when I met with the division head when I first arrived, he was aghast when I said I had no desire to become a supervisor. In fact, he lectured me as to why I was wrong. :eek: Interestingly, he’s gone, and I’m still there and I’m still a peon.

It wasn’t always this way - once I aspired to be my boss’ boss. But I was young and naive and I thought you progressed on merit. As I came to understand the politics that lead to the corner office, I decided I didn’t want to play. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I’m a pretty good engineer. I’m also a good project leader - I do well herding other engineers and technicians to complete a specific task when I can focus on the task and not have to worry about personnel evaluations and all that administrative crap.When I was in the Navy, I was a Branch Head. I didn’t like it.

I can retire in just over 2 years, and I expect to go out the door as I am today - a working engineer. My last few bosses have been younger than I, and it doesn’t matter. Heck, our commanding officer is younger than I and I don’t care. I have achieved what I wanted in my career and I don’t feel like I didn’t meet my “potential” because I didn’t want to be in charge.

Please, weigh in. Do you want to be CEO, middle management, or do you wallow with me in peondom?

No, never, no way, double-plus No. My boss (lower management) is physically in the office every day of the week, for 70+ hours, doing real work, and he’s ‘on duty’ constantly-call him at 2 AM and he’s alert enough to make a decision. He is responsible for the screw-ups of about a dozen people, but when things go well, he has to fight with his 5 peers to prove that our work was the reason for success. His health has been deteriorating since since he became a manager. The extra money would be nice, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. Now, I’d love to be anywhere in the 3 layers of management above him, those guys look at pre-digested reports and attend meetings all day where they make ill-informed decisions and then tell us to make it so.

I’m most happy with being a peon so I can forget my job when I clock out for the day but I woud be lieing if I said I wasn’t at least somewhat interested in middle management. Anything beyond that is totally out of the question, though. I lack almost any ambition and though I don’t exactly do a lot with my free time, I still value it highly.

Count me as among those who do not aspire to be a boss. I, too, have been lectured about this. I absolutely know that if I plan to rise one more grade level, I will have to be a supervisor. If it’s a dream job, I may do it, but I don’t foresee one coming along any time soon.

Would the money be nice? Most definitely, but I don’t like playing games and I’m not a political animal. I’m known be for being direct and honest and I can do this with tact. My honesty is not always appreciated, however.

I am a Manager, and a ‘Boss’ to a few people. In my current place of employment the only position above me is COO (Chief Operating Officer) and I am a long way from having the people-skills to do that job, nor the commitment to the company, and the amount of work that should be involved.

Plus, I don’t think people without wads of cash get jobs like that.

My experience was similar to yours, FCM - after Uni, I moved to Jackson and joined a large engineering firm. At times I was a real ‘company’ person - and I had aspirations to rise as high in the ranks as I could. I went as far as managing 3 other engineers in the Hydraulics section.

But some thing changed about my attitude over the 8+ years I was there - and I ended up leaving to work for the City in a slower-paced environment, closer to my kids’ school. The firm’s CEO said he was dissapointed - he was hoping I’d head the Structures/Hydraulics Dept. eventually.

Anyway, now I am my own boss; have my own sole proprietorship. THIS kind of ‘being the boss’ is great.

So yeah, I wanna be the boss - and the sole employee! :slight_smile:

Not so bad being the peon when the boss knows what they’re doing. I’ve lost patience with bosses a number of times over the years, however. Being my own boss rules. :wink:

I don’t feel comfortable ordering folk around, though. I tend to guide rather than lead.

Been there, done that. The fact that I went from owning my own businesses to teaching should tell you how I feel about being the Boss. :smiley:

Well, I am the boss. And in the last 2-3 years I’ve been to hell and back. Somedays I wouldn’t trade it for the world and others I have to remind myself that there are people depending on me in order to even get out of bed in the morning.

I’m a good boss but I don’t enjoy it. I always saw myself as Spock, not Kirk, in terms of organizational role, and that’s still the case.

I’m a supervisor, but not head of the department. I help write up performance reviews, make daily decisions, and figure things out when someone calls in sick, etc.

My boss deals with the more long-term stuff, planning, budgets, etc. I deal more with the day to day, although if a crisis comes up I will go to her for advice/help/feedback. Most times she agrees with my decision, and might have some advice to handle things a bit more politically/diplomatically.

So, it’s like being a boss, but with a safety net.

That you like to be the Absolute Boss of your room, but no further? Teaching is a very special type of authority, and it does seem to suit me. I think after years of it, I’d be rotten with adults–you can be blunt with kids in a way that just wouldn’t fly with adults ("If you don’t stop talking, swear to god I will rip your lips off. Really.)

No way, no how. I hate being management. I got out of the Air Force after 14 years because I had made E-6. Once your E-6 they want you to manage. Screw that. I’m good at fixing broke telecom, not babysitting a bunch of snot nosed Airmen.

In my current job, when the previous mid-shift manager moved to swings, he asked if I wanted him to recommend me for the job. I said, “No thanks. I’d rather mop jizz at a coin operated porn joint”.

C’mon, **Fugazi ** - tell us how you really feel! :smiley:

It’s interesting that some people seem to think that if you don’t aspire to management, you’re lazy/unmotivated/stupid/whoknowswhatelse. But we can’t all be supervisors, managers, or executives - somebody has to be down in the trenches. I don’t understand why being satisfied with the job that you have is sometimes scorned.

I don’t think there’s enough money to make me want to take on that aggravation.

My last job – the job I recently quit – was in management. Even had I been paid enough, I don’t think I would’ve lasted much longer. A manager needs rudimentary people skills, and since I hate people, I dreaded going to work every day. The responsibility was also a pain – I knew I had a problem when I starting laying awake every night worrying about work. I also developed a nasty alcohol problem – more often than not, it was easier just to drink myself to sleep.

A good job is one you you do well for 40 hours a week and then forget about the rest of the time. I don’t want to be given the responsibility of looking after a bunch of employees who are plenty smart enough to look after themselves (and resent me for that reason). All I want is a task to complete and a nice quiet place where I can do it without having to deal with politics, complaints, personal issues, or discipline.

I think some people fantasize about management because they know they’re smarter and more competent than their boss and can’t stand the fact that this guy gets more money and respect. The problem is, bosses have bosses too, and their bosses have bosses – all the way up the corporate ladder. The sad truth is, you’ll probably never escape having to brownnose somebody unless you start your own business, which is way too much of a headache and financial risk for most people. And the higher you rise on that chain of command, the more obnoxious, type-A people you run into.

You’d think having underlings scurrying about so you have something to kick when you’re in a bad mood might make up for this, but it’s way overrated. Sometimes you just want to have a chat with somebody, without that person worrying about saying the wrong thing. Most employees act differently around the boss – sometimes it’s subtle, mostly it’s not. Most employees fall into one of four categories: the ones who hate you with a burning passion because you’re boss (thankfully rare), the ones that glom onto you and try to be your best friend because they think it will help them get promoted (a lot less rare), the normal folks whose company you’d probably enjoy if they didn’t tread so lightly around you, and the odd person who doesn’t give a shit and treats you like anybody else (also rare, unfortunately).

Perversely, You end up being drawn toward the folks who aren’t as nice to you, simply because they’re more likely to be candid, which is a relief after dealing with typical management bullshit all day. The only coworkers you can really talk to are the managers on exactly the same level as you, and you’re out of luck if the handful of people who fit the bill aren’t your type.

The worst part is discipline. Your job requires you to represent higher management to your employees, which means you need to nag the slower ones about their performance and hassle the unruly ones who break company policy. Even if you’re a generally laid-back person who doesn’t care about rules and regulations, the job tends to morph you into a petty dictator with a stick up his butt fairly quickly. There’s no way out of it – it’s part of the job description. This causes a major personality conflict for me, because if I ran the company, I’d let folks come to work in their pajamas and bring their puppies. Hell, I’d let everybody telecommute and then fire the 90% of management that’s no longer needed.

I’m through with it. Forever. I will always be a grunt, and proud of it.

Exactly. I’m not lazy. I simply don’t want to have worry about managing people. There’s absolutely nothing wrong that. I’m motivated and will work until there’s no more work to do. Then I ask for more.

The funny thing is, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I’d be an excellent supervisor and that I should really consider it. Uh, no way. Lets face it; there are a good many employees who are just a pain in the ass. Supervisors spend more time at meetings, counseling, writing performance plans, appraisals, etc, then actually getting to do their real work.

I (selfishly) want to come in, do my job, and not worry about who’s calling in sick, who’s abusing their leave, politics, fighting for performance awards, fighting for training dollars, etc.

At the job I quit a few months ago, I was the senior engineer at our location, they were doing a management review, and they’d already made noises about putting me in charge of the technical group. I could have easily had a job as head of engineering, but I quit instead. My career goals are emphatically not to be a boss. At least not at that level - I either want to be at the top, or the bottom.

As a consultant, I’m both :smiley: I get to be the boss of me, and I’m the lowest person on the totem pole. I also get to stay right in the thick of the technical stuff, not managing a bunch of other people who get to do the fun work. I think I’ll stay right where I am.

Count me in as another “Happy to be a peon” person.

After grad school, started work at a consulting engineering firm. I worked there full time for a year, but then I had my first child and went on the Mommy track and worked on a part time basis for the next 14 years.

I recently changed jobs, so I now work full time as an engineering analyst for a public agency. Although the pay is not all that great, the benefits are good and I am a non-exempt employee, which means that I am limited to a 40 hour per week job. If I work beyond that, it goes in to comp time on a time-and-a-half basis.

Unlike my previous job, where engineers were a dime a dozen, I am one of the few people with an engineering degree in my present office. As a result, I get to spend the vast majority of my time number crunching and doing analysis (which I love), and a tiny bit of time in project management (which I detest — because I hate having to depend up other people doing their job in order for me to complete my job.) My boss is very happy with my work, and talks of getting my position upgraded — but if it means going to a professional position (meaning unpaid overtime) and/or moving to more project management and less computation work, I’m really not interested.

I like to manage projects but not people. I’ve supervised and really hated having to be something other than a sympathetic ear for all the workplace drama. Best jobs are like the one I have now - I’m techinically management but don’t directly supervise anyone. I work with a lot of other people that my boss supervises and some of them seem to be confused about whether I am their boss. Lukily, nearly all of them are happy people who have worked here forever and need little direction, except training and help with new procedures.

No. I’ve supervised people, some of whom had previously been my peers, and it was a PITA. Really, just show up, do your job and quit whining already. And when they weren’t just whining and something actually needed to be done, my manager would undercut or reverse my decisions, even (or maybe especially) when they had improved productivity. Never again. I want to come in, do my job, and go home. Now managing up is a different story. I’m good at that and I enjoy it. That’s part of what makes me a great assistant. Besides, at that level, if I give them advice, and they don’t take it, I get to say I told you so, or at least think it really loudly, and they are generally appropriately repentant for their foolishness. :smiley:

I really don’t understand the mindset that everyone must move into management or else. There’s plenty of room for both. Something I’ve noticed is that employees are happier when there are both management and worker bee tracks for promotion. That way, worker bees get the recognition and pay that would otherwise require a management position, and the company gets to keep their expertise where it does the most good, and people who are actually management material end up managers. Win-win all the way around.