Lessons from the Bossman

Today at work I had my mid-year review. I love my boss, he gives the best advice, so although these meetings aren’t mandated I frequently find myself scheduling professional development talks, project reviews, meeting follow-ups. Partially it’s because he’s awesome, partially it’s because I’m just a nerd and love that kind of thing. (As a side note I always have. I think I’m the only kid who used to force my parents to go to parent teacher conferences to get more feedback…)

Banana Republic Sylvia Sheath Dress. So comfy and professional at the same time!

Read on for bossman’s expert advice!

  1. Watch & Learn. Bossman has a background in sociology and therefore often encourages me to sit back and observe. Today he reminded me to continue to learn through observation while in meetings. In my position I often have the opportunity to see how influential leaders conduct business and handle conflict. Instead of spacing out or listening for content only, bossman suggests actively watching the people in the room – where are they looking, what is their body language, who is talking, who isn’t talking. You can learn about how to conduct business by watching who is interacting and how people are reacting.
  2. Dress the Part. I have this thing where I feel like I have to be a certain amount of “experienced” before I start dressing like an “expert.” For example, when I started snowboarding I absolutely refused to wear anything bright or trendy because I wasn’t good enough; only good snowboarders were allowed to wear the gear. I faced the same dilemma at work. Was I allowed to wear fancy businesswoman clothes when I was not yet a CEO? Of course! Bossman and I had this talk today, and although “Dress for the position you want, not the one you have” is not new advice, I was also battling sticking out like a sore thumb in an organization that has an extremely varied dress code. Would people judge me for wearing a red Banana Republic dress and heels when the other people on my position – and even a few positions higher – were rocking casual slacks and polos (albeit very nice polos)? WHO CARES! Bossman assured me that “Dress for Success” is still great advice. See the Sylvia Sheath dress from Banana Republic above if you’re looking for a ridiculously comfy, professional, yet still young and hip look.
  3. Take a Break. Actually, the most serious advice I got was to stop working so dang hard. Because I love what I do, I often work on my off-times (and sometimes without being paid). Sounds great, right? Bossman must love me! Not so much. He stressed the importance of work-life balance and told me an interesting story from his previous job. Once, a high up VP said that when she has employees who work on the weekend, get in early, and stay late, she assumes that he or she must not be able to do their job properly – these things should be able to be completed in normal working hours. While this is a little extreme, and certain projects often take some extra man (or woman) hours, the point remains the same. Work hard, but play hard too. Bossman’s biggest fear is that I would get burnt out and end up hating a job that I once loved.

Congrats! You’ve just made it though my first big block of text. 10/10, great job, gold star! This blog is part writing outlet, part reminders for myself, and part look into my life for my friends who I don’t see much. More things that make my life a little brighter to come!

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