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.