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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Overqualified? I'm smarter than my boss

Note: This is a blog topic one of my readers asked me to write about.

Oh those crazy days of our youth! I remember when I was smarter than my boss. The first time I think I was about 25. I remember being out with him and telling a customer that the software feature they had asked for was ridiculous and totally unnecessary. I only made that mistake once!

Of course I've always been smarter than my boss. We all like to think we are. Even our bosses! So what is it about being smarter than your boss that is so important to us?

That's a good question and I think somewhere inside it's all about self-worth and getting promoted. I mean, if we are smarter than our bosses then we ought to get promoted sometime. Right? And if we're not smarter, then we'll never get promoted. Of course, jobs don't really work that way...

But let's just pretend for a moment that we actually are smarter than our boss in a particular job. What should we do about it? As I see it there are three options:

  • Just do the job to the best of your abilities and thank him or her for the opportunity of the challenge
  • Let them know how wonderfully well you are doing your job
  • Let everyone around you, especially your boss' boss if possible, know you are smarter than your boss
Okay, which one did you pick?

Now we all know we should pick option number one, but option number three is just so tempting. And so every now and then, even if we're the best of employees, we slip a little. But actually I'd rather go for option number two myself. Blow my own trumpet so to speak. All I'm saying to him is that I'm doing my job well, which I am. I am saying nothing about what I think of him or her. And if you really are doing your job well, and not undermining your boss, you will get noticed and who knows where that will lead?

Yes, most of us think we are smarter than our bosses, but we need to let them remain confident in the fact that they are still the boss!

Us? We will become someone else's incompetent boss later in life!

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