We all want to think that our boss has our interests foremost in their mind. In truth, your career isn’t as important to your boss as you might like to think. Here’s a bit of career coaching on why.
Hi, I’m George Karris and welcome to my webinar on why your boss just doesn’t care about your future. Now, when I first say that it probably sounds a bit harsh, but I’m not just talking about the bad bosses that we’ve all had that we knew didn’t care about our future. I’m also talking about good bosses as well. And why is it that they don’t care about your future? The thing is, if you think about it, your boss is primarily concerned about themselves. We all are concerned about ourselves. We’re all at the center of our own attention.
What is your boss thinking about? Your boss is thinking about how well is your team performing and how’s that reflect on him so that he can get a promotion, so that his career goes really well, right? That’s what you’d expect, it’s a natural thing. It’s not to say he doesn’t care about his team but when he’s thinking about you and you’re future, he’s thinking about it in the context of how it advances his future. What does that mean? It means he’s concerned about your performance on the team because your team’s performance means he’s available to get a promotion. He’s more likely to have the career and success that he wants.
It sounds a bit harsh but that’s really what you can expect from yourselves and really from anyone. You know, okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well, I’ve had some great bosses who I know really cared about me” and I have too. But, I think about in my case the one boss that I really liked working with the most who I thought was just really an exceptional human being. He told me at one point, he said, “George when you’re thinking about hiring somebody into a position, into a role, you know it’s okay to promise them something a couple of years out that you might not be able to deliver on. The reason is because in 2 years the environmental context will have changed, the company will have shifted and you probably won’t be in the role anyway so you won’t have to deliver on the promise, right?”
What is he really saying there, what he’s saying is that he’s interested in my future but he’s interested in my future to the extent that it’s our future and it advances his career as well as mine, right? That’s really all you can sort of expect. It surprises people sometimes that people do things that are right for themselves and for their career, but it really shouldn’t. You see sometimes when somebody says, “Gosh, you know I had a great relationship with my boss and then all of a sudden X, Y, Z happened and they left me out in the cold.” They are just totally shocked that happened.
Well the reason is because they have to put their careers first right? Their family, providing for their family, doing things they need to do for themselves before they can help you as much as they might want to help you.
Okay, so what about yourself, if you manage people, if your a leader, if you are somebody who is in that kind of role. You probably think, “Well, I’m different.” I know I’d like to think that I am different as well, but when I think about the people that I worked with underneath me and my teams, some of them I really, really cared about and I really wanted them to be successful.
Sometimes I would help them create a plan for their careers and “how to” trajectory and a developmental plan, and help them go and do the things that they wanted to do. But even as much as I tried to help them with those things, it was never the focus of my effort. The focus of my efforts were of course, on my team’s performance so that I can get promoted, so that I’d have a successful career. That’s just the natural thing to do. I think this concept is really best covered by this quote from Jim Rohn which says, “If you don’t create your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan and guess what they have planned for you, nothing much.”
What do they have planned for you? Nothing much. That’s a message that I think is really worth taking to heart because I’ve talked to a lot of people, and when I asked them to take me through their careers what they say is, “Well, I got a position at such and such a company and I did really well in it and then somebody approached me about a promotion to a different role in a different division, so I took it, and then somebody approached me about another position and I took it, and somebody I worked for from the past went to a different company and he called me up and he said, Hey, would you be interesting in coming and joining his company? So I did.”
People can span decades doing that kind of work and their careers can go fairly well, but the point is they’ve never really taken agency over making their career happen. What’s the point in all this? The point in all this is you really need to create a plan for your career and you need to take action to make it happen, because if you don’t, you’re really allowing circumstance to dictate how your career moves forward and not really living the best career and the best life for yourself.