Choose a Boss, Not a Job.

I actually hadn’t heard this phrase before. So I was feeling pretty smart when I wrote the post title and begun the draft post.

Until I searched the internet – apparently it’s quite a popular saying. There goes my smarty-pants feeling. Guess there’s nothing new under the sun.

choose a boss and not a job

I remember when I had received my offer for a job here in the UK and the conversation I had with two gentlemen. Boss A was my current boss at the time, while Boss B was my almost Boss. Almost I say because I had been offered a job at his firm – but I had turned it down.

You see, the thing with my new job was that even though I was already a Lawyer in Nigeria, to become a Lawyer in the UK, I was going to have to re-qualify in the UK and essentially go back 3 years – one year of law school in the UK and then another two years of training – back down to the bottom of the ladder.

I had a chat with Boss A and B. Should I take this offer? Boss B thought not and said so upfront that he didn’t think it was a great idea. Boss A, on the other hand, was absolutely in support! Never mind that I was currently his employee and was going to have to leave. He explained that even though I was going back to square one for a bit, it wouldn’t matter and my experience in total was bound to be better. The international experience at such a global law firm was definitely a positive career move.

This, alongside all my previous experiences with Boss A made me realise how important it is to pick the right boss.

Sometimes, we think of a job as just a job – a place to do the 9-5 time and earn the pennies for our holidays, a house with the white picket fence (or maybe more accurately in Banana Island, Lagos) and a walk-in-closet. At the point when we are job hunting, we’re prepared to take the first job we are offered. And that’s not a bad thing – especially when we have no choice.

But if it happens that we do have a choice, I’ll suggest paying a lot of attention to who your boss will be. Especially if it’s your first boss!

Here’s why:

1. Personal and career development

If you pick the right boss, you are just not another employee doing the rounds. Rather he/she is genuinely interested in what path you take. You’ll be provided and involved in amazing opportunities at work that’ll help your career and development.  You’ll be singled out to go for those conferences abroad and attend the big meetings. I’ve seen this play out many times with people around me.

2. Relationship Building

With the right boss, your relationship transcends the period of your employment with him/her. Rather,  you will succeed in building a relationship that you’re able to leverage and utilise. Even though I no longer work at the firm, I’m able to email Boss A occasionally to seek his advice on various matters.

So how can you pick the right boss?

I can’t claim that I was fully aware of these before settling for the job with Boss A, but in retrospect maybe I was… (Smarty Pants?).

1. Research his/her personal story

I’m sure you know to research the firm you’re applying to. But did you think to research your potential bosses? Is their career path akin to something you’ll like to consider? Boss A had a foreign LL.M degree shortly after his undergrad and then had a year of international experience in a global law firm. With this experience, he returned to start his law firm in Nigeria – which is now one of the foremost law firms in Nigeria. I knew that an international LL.M was in my short term plan after I secured my first job. Consequently, Boss A was likely to support considering he has done this himself. In addition, I could believe his judgement that an experience at a global law firm was invaluable.

2. The Interview

Everyone says an interview is a two-way process. It really is. It’s a great opportunity to assess the bosses you’ll be working with.  I remember my hour long interview with Boss B. I left the office feeling quite less of myself. I felt like he had intentionally tried to belittle me and my achievements by asking some funny questions. On the other hand, my about 10-minute interview with Boss A, and the one question I recall him asking had me thinking about my career path!

3. Ask Questions

I hear people don’t leave jobs; they leave bosses (I also think they leave salaries though! Lol!). Generally, word on the street was that Boss A was a good boss and many people stayed on the firm because of him.  Even people who left had mostly good things to say.

Although I say boss, this could (as applicable) be read to mean the general culture of your place of work. You’re likely to be spending most of your hours there – so you definitely want to pick a firm that you’ll feel comfortable in. I remember a firm I interviewed at here in London.  As I walked in the receptionist said to me ‘Oh it’s so great to see another black person in here’. What? In this day and age, workplace diversity is kind of key, and firms make efforts to incorporate this. Was this lady the only black person in the firm? I couldn’t tell, but considering that I had gone through the firm’s website and most of the employees were of a certain class, I wasn’t so sure how well it would work for me.

Finally, at the end of the day it’s personal. I know people who did not get on well with Boss A, and people who absolutely think Boss B is fantastic – and he is, but it just wasn’t meant for me at that time.

So, trust your gut and here’s hoping you pick the right Boss.

If however, you are not in a position to choose a Boss, go with the job and try to win the bosses over to your side, building relationships and adding value!

What do you think of this? Are you an employee? Did you have a choice to research your bosses and pick them? Or were you more enticed by the job? What’s the relationship with your boss like?


Kachee… Xx

pS: Did you read about that time my awesome boss gave me orchestra tickets? Oh, apart from good bosses you also need Office BFFs – too bad mine left me.

read too: 8 productive things to do on a slow day at work and How I almost became a quack doctor


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  1. Chidimma Njoku

    June 6, 2016 at 19:16

    Nice. I’m not at this stage yet but this really helped because I have a friend who opened my eyes to this a few weeks ago. So hearing it from you in better details reinforced the advice. I’ll keep it till I need it.

    • Kachee ||

      June 7, 2016 at 11:54

      You’re welcome Chidimma. It’s really just a case of considering the company / firm as well as the job itself. All the best!

  2. Rae

    June 6, 2016 at 19:19

    I couldn’t agree with this post more, especially since this influenced my decision in regards to my new career move. I was lucky enough to choose the offer with better bosses and better pay. However, if I had to choose between the other offer and my current place of employment, I would have definitely stayed put.I think it is important that when you attend an interview, that you aren’t the only one being interviewed. The job would have been interesting, but after speaking with the manager who I would report to, I didn’t think I would be able to stay at the company long. He was polite but I just didn’t think we would mesh well. Yanno?This was an awesome post — very informative. You definitely hit the nail on the head.

    • Kachee ||

      June 7, 2016 at 11:56

      Thank you so much Rae for taking time out to comment!Working with a manager you may not get along with isn’t the best. Glad you had another offer you could go with!

  3. Toluwalade Toyin-Kehinde

    June 7, 2016 at 01:11

    I agree with this (beginning to feel like i agree with all your posts but thats a good thing no? haha) my being under a boss played out when i was signed to a modeling agency. The manager was so cool and easy to talk to about just anything and i enjoyed my time with them. Several times i got free overnight stays at luxury hotels (obviously my student budget can’t afford) just because- cool boss!!Ps- the new logo design is amazinggg..i prefer that one and the black color

    • Kachee ||

      June 7, 2016 at 11:58

      Hahahaha. Toyin, don’t worry you didn’t really agree with the birthday one – you are team big party! Cool bosses are the best! I also got lots of freebies because cool boss!Thanks for the feedback!! I’ll launch it soon.

  4. CozyZen

    June 7, 2016 at 02:29

    I think most people don’t usually focus on the boss but the amount of money they are getting. I included, i just get my money and thats just about it.

    • Kachee ||

      June 7, 2016 at 11:59

      The money can definitely be tempting – but we should spare a few seconds to think about the boss/ company culture. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Berry Dakara

    June 7, 2016 at 02:55

    This a great point. I feel that your boss can potentially make or break your working experience in any organization. A good boss who is genuinely interested in you as not just an employee, but also as a person is one to pray for. I don’t know that anyone sets out to be a bad boss, but sometimes it stems from fear of “training your replacement.”While in Nigeria, I had two work experiences. The first one made me wonder why on earth I left America. He wasn’t bad to me per se, but the whole organization worked under fear. The minute the CEO walked in, everyone would be scrambling around like scaredy cats and I just didn’t understand it. Sometimes he would get to the office at 6pm and stay till midnight and majority of the staff would wait because they were afraid to go home in case he fires them. WHAAAAAAAAAAT?! My second work experience was made all the more better because I had a boss who cared about my well-being, career, and more. Funny enough, before I started there, everyone told me that working for women would be bad (apparently women, especially older Nigerian women can be mean). But my team was made up of mostly women and they were all lovely!So yes, your boss should be a factor in your decision to take a job. I’d never seen it the way you put it – the interview is a two-way process. That should make interviews less intimidating, aye?Berry Dakara Blog

    • Kachee ||

      June 8, 2016 at 09:00

      Maybe no one sets out to be a bad boss – but then they probably do not receiving training on how to be a good boss or just have attitude problems.Gosh! I know those kind of CEOs that people live in fear of. I also never understand the need to remain at work just because your boss is there, when you are not busy. So so unnecessary!. True, there’s also that thinking that as a woman, working with women can be a terrible experience – but so far I’ve had only good female bosses. It may start off a bit tricky at first, but eventually I’ve blended with them so much!Hahaha – that should make the interview less intimidating (especially if you have lots of options). Thanks for your comment Berry! Xx

  6. Motunrayo Shafau

    June 7, 2016 at 07:32

    This is so true. I think I have had a good track record of bosses who have been quite encouraging. ” Generally, word on the street was that Boss A was a good boss and many people stayed on the firm because of him. Even people who left had mostly good things to say.” This got me thinking about a TedTalk my sister shared with me. It’s the why that matters, his essence is ultimately what made people people in his vision and stay… It’s a good thing to reflect upon.

    • Kachee ||

      June 8, 2016 at 08:53

      Thank Motunrayo! We also have to be good bosses to our subordinates as well. If you have a minute can you share the link to the TedTalk? xX

  7. Sky

    June 7, 2016 at 11:47

    Choosing the right boss is important, but choosing the right path that leads to where you want to go career-wise is more important.I know people who have risen super-fast in their careers because they chose/were opportuned to start/join the right company or position, compared to other people who started their careers at the same time.Also, depending on where you have reached in your life/age/maturity/career, the boss’ personal wahala might or might not be a factor, like, you just won’t care that much and you will have gotten enough wisdom and thick skin to manage said boss. But yes, all the points you made are valid.SkyNotFancy

    • Kachee ||

      June 9, 2016 at 09:27

      Hi Sky!!Oh absolutely, the right path is SO important. I assumed that one would have chosen the right path first and then when faced with two or more opportunities within that same path, it becomes necessary to consider the consider the firms and the companies individually. And yes, depending on where you are the boss may not matter, so this is probably more relevant at the early stages of your career.Thank you so much for raising these points! xx

  8. Precious

    June 8, 2016 at 17:02

    I have missed your blog, Kachee! My computer has been playing games with me.I’m not an employee but my husband’s former boss is like your Boss A. He cared too much about him and was so concerned about his personal development. If I were to choose a boss, I’ll choose one that motivates me to be my best.How are you, Kachee?

    • Kachee ||

      June 8, 2016 at 17:04

      Precious! I’m fine. I wondered where you were as I felt I hadn’t seen your emails in a while. Then I saw your post when you handled the grill!We all need Boss As in our life!!

  9. Nedoux

    June 9, 2016 at 17:54

    Hi Kachee,Excellent post, your blog is bursting at the seams with topics that impact positively.Lol @ “I also think they leave salaries though” Most often than not. Not even a bad boss can make me budge from the right amount of cash. #IboGirlIndeed, I’ve learned that one’s boss can sometimes make or mar one career-wise. Most of us spend a large percentage of our lives within the walls of offices, so those hours should count or at least be bearable.Re: “Research his/her personal story” Thank God for LinkedIn !Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • Kachee ||

      June 10, 2016 at 12:40

      Nedoux! coming from you that means a lot to me! Trying my best to impact positively.Lmfao @ Ibo Girl. Girl! Money is so key as well. Many of us actually spend more time at work – if we are frustrated there, we’ll likely just move the frustration to the people at home. LinkedIn is such a great resource – and you can stalk incognito! Lol.

  10. Ezinne Allen-Obayagbona

    June 9, 2016 at 20:47

    Hey Kachee,This is a thrilling post. I totally believe that the boss you work with determines your development (career and personal). It also has to do with having leadership skills. It wouldn’t hurt to find out from the interview whether the boss exhibits qualities of a leader (obviously you can’t know entirely, but you should find some qualities).Also, when you step into a company for an interview you may have some sense of the workplace culture. Usually, from conducting a research, you may discover it firsthand and that can help know what to expect. I usually read through the values of the company. Once you go through that, you can ask during the interview, how they implement their values (if you choose to).I once worked at a company that had “safety” as a value which was weird to me initially especially since I wasn’t going to work with huge machines and all that. Working there made me become so conscious of everything around me and that was really

    • Kachee ||

      June 10, 2016 at 12:42

      Thank you Zinny! I agree with you on having a feel of the workplace. I worked into a couple of firms and it felt so ‘stuffy’. So first hand knowledge and a bit of research is essential. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Xx


    July 1, 2016 at 15:37

    I am grateful i read this and hope people that will work for me will find my impact useful.I know that belittling feeling…..used to get to me but now I just laugh on the inside and say dude skin be tough now…

    • Kachee ||

      July 18, 2016 at 11:00

      Awww Kiks, just seeing this comment! Skin be tough indeed! Xx