Is It Better to Take a Bad Job With a Good Boss, or a Good Job With a Bad Boss?

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TennisHello, this is Laura Lee Rose. I am a speaker, an author, and an expert in time and project management. I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable, and have time to enjoy life. At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Today’s question comes from a busy professional: Currently I’m working with a good boss, but the job isn’t that great (because there is no future there, and the pay isn’t that great). I recently found a good job (pay is good with medical insurance, commission, and bonuses), but the boss there is kind of stupid and a nightmare to work with. What is my better option? Should I take the bad job and the good boss, or the good job and the bad boss? 

The false premise is that there are only two options: good boss and a bad job, or bad boss and a good job. In reality, there is an abundance of other opportunities out there — including good jobs with good bosses.

The other mistake is to think that your current situation is permanent, rather than temporary. So what if, for today, there is no future at the job and the pay isn’t that great? That’s a temporary situation. Perhaps the pay isn’t that great and there’s no future for someone with your current skill set and experience. Perhaps if you update your skill set to match the next-generation tools and gain more client advocacy experience, you will be eligible for a new role with a higher salary range. Perhaps the company will head in a different direction, and if you are prepared and you align yourself with the company’s goals and vision, you could get a better position.

Now, let’s talk about the good job with the “nightmare” boss. Who is to say that the boss is a nightmare? Your friend Joe, may need more hand-holding in his job, and maybe this boss isn’t a micromanager. Therefore, Joe might feel this boss is terrible. But maybe you, on the other hand, work best when you have some autonomy — and that would make this boss a good boss to you.

Perhaps this is the worst boss in the universe: you are still making the erroneous assumption that this is the only boss or manager in this organization. Who’s to say that, once you are in this role, you can’t network and build relationships with other, better managers and move onto their teams?

When faced with the good job/bad boss and bad job/good boss dilemma, you actually have a lot of opportunities. It isn’t even really a dilemma at all. So — what will your next step be?

What Does a Bad Boss Mean to You?

CameraIf you have a bad boss, define why you feel this person is a bad boss. Once you know this information, you can take some steps to make your life with this bad boss a little more comfortable.

For instance, maybe you feel your boss is a bad boss because he is a micromanager. If so, you can be proactive in supplying him with status updates and details of your work. Understand what your boss needs to feel comfortable, and what he needs for his success. Once you understand the boss’s position and start thinking like him, you can better appreciate and anticipate his requests — and maybe start to feel a little less like he is a bad boss.

No More Bad Bosses: Make an Individual Career Mission Statement

If you haven’t created your individual career mission statement yet, do that now. Your career mission statement should include your SMART career goals and the specific steps you will take to achieve them. You should also create an individual development plan, which will include your professional skills and income goals.

If you have a great boss, seek their input on your career goals. They will have a different perspective on what’s available or just around the corner for the company. Work with your mentors, coaches, and even external recruiters to find out which of your skills are outdated, which are in need of some polishing, and which are in demand or going to be in demand.

If you are not networking with  people outside of your department and even outside of your company’s walls, well — start doing that. Attend professional association meetings and local conferences, and do some networking on LinkedIn.

Spend more time defining what you really want to be, do, and have — and then go after it.

For more information on everything discussed here, feel free to reach out to me. We can schedule an appointment, and I can get to know more about your unique situation. I will be happy to make recommendations on what your best steps are moving forward. Contact

By Laura Lee Rose