Shilalekh

What Life Teaches Me Everyday

Is Job Satisfaction More Important Than The Boss

For the past few weeks this is the question weighing heavily on my mind: what is more important, the satisfaction you derive out of your work or the people you are working with and your boss. I understand that these two are not independent of each other but what weightage should be given to each when deciding about taking or not taking a job.

Let me tell you the background of this dilemma to put things in perspective. A couple of weeks back I met a friend of mine. We are very close and have no secrets between us; female bonding you can call it. Anyways, she told me she had quit her job and was back to her previous workplace. The first thing that I asked her was: the same boss or another? “The same”, pat came the reply. I didn’t have the courage to ask her why she had taken this decision. May be next time, when I have sorted out my own thoughts, I will be able to do so.

I know her previous job history well. Her boss was (should be is, I guess!) a good gentleman who turned out to be a bad taskmaster. There was only one way of doing things: his way. You might be an expert in your field but you couldn’t be better than him. He threw his weight and attitude around at the drop of a hat. And that diluted all his other qualities like taking care of his employees’ needs, giving flexi working hours and always ready to help in whatever way when someone was stuck up. If you could withstand his temper tantrums, you had nothing else to worry about. Of course, provided you were an efficient worker.

My friend had been recruited as a technical expert and knew her job well. She couldn’t stand her boss always being the hard taskmaster. He had the habit of poking his nose into all her work despite being a non technical person himself. And then his bad temper. He would just explode at every opportunity and his excuse: he was the boss. My friend bore with all this for close to two years because she loved her job. It utilized her potential to the fullest and then exerted her mind a little more. But there was only so much pressure she could handle. Her confidence was getting eroded by being belittled by the boss every now and then. And in the end, she just quit.

Now after a gap of three years she has rejoined the organization in the same capacity. I doubt the boss would have changed much in the intervening years; nature and signature of a person don’t change. So I wonder why she has taken this step. Is job satisfaction so important that she is willing to put her well being on line again? I surely wouldn’t have done that. Would you?

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1 Comment

  1. Mrityunjay Kumar

    Good post, and a great situation analysis! There are many ways to look at it, and of course the person involved is a good person to answer ‘why’ (though not the best person, sometimes we can’t explain our own reasons for doing a certain thing). I think the quality of work certainly is important when you evaluate a job. So is a good boss. Also, a known evil is certainly better than unknown evil. If I look at it positively, then here are good reasons for doing this:
    1. In the 3 years break, hopefully both your friend and the boss has had time to reflect on good aspects of their interactions, and they will appreciate it more than the bad parts (we tend to miss things more when we lose them). So it is possible that their interactions are likely to be better this time around.
    2. 3 years is a long time to reflect on one’s strengths/weaknesses and create plans to tackle the world better. Your friend may have better strategies to deal with her boss’s behavior based on her 3 years spent in this new company. Or she may have developed more thick-skin to help protect her.

    Here are a few reasons why this could be a bad move:
    1. This can reiterate to the boss that what he has been doing is right all along (and he now has a proof in your friend coming back to work for him), he can perpetrate his behavior with renewed force now, causing troubles to everyone.
    2. Your friend loses the opportunity to explore more of the world. There are all kinds of organizations and all kinds of bosses – a change should be taken as an opportunity to get new experiences.

    I am looking forward to your comments when you do talk to your friend and get some answers.

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