Every once in a while I get a call from a headhunter asking if I’m interested in changing jobs. Because I work in high-tech, some of these jobs come with fancy titles, intriguing stock options and free organic snacks in the company kitchen. But so far I’ve never even been tempted. I absolutely love my boss, and can’t imagine finding a better one.
1. She lets me work flexible hours. My boss doesn’t care when I clock in as long as I get my work done and my clients are happy. Some days I start at 7:00 a.m. and some days I might not start until 10:00 a.m. or later, depending on whether my husband is on kid duty or I am.
2. She lets me work from home. Not only does she let me choose when I work, she lets me choose where I work. I do most of my work from home, and commute only for face-to-face meetings.
3. She pays well. A lot of jobs will give employees a little flexibility, but then ding them on pay. My boss thinks that’s ridiculous. She pays me what I’m worth — there’s no Mommy Track pay scale here.
4. She gives me unlimited time off. My boss doesn’t care how many sick days or vacation days I take. She doesn’t even keep track! She’s created a results-only work environment. All she cares about is a job well done. This is measured in client satisfaction and, at year-end, financial performance.
5. She gives me total autonomy. My boss trusts me to figure out how to get my work done; she never micromanages me, and doesn’t expect me to conform to some rigid corporate idea of who I should be. She even gives me veto power over which projects we take on. She has a “No Jerks” rule; we turn down projects if we sense there’s a bad personality fit. Luckily, we have plenty of great clients who are a joy to work with.
6. She invests in me. My boss says it’s important I have the tools and training I need to do my job. She gives me a generous budget for conferences and classes, and never bats an eye when I say I need to buy new software or my computer needs an upgrade.
7. She understands me. The real reason this all works is that my boss gets me. It helps that she’s a working mom, so she understands when I have to pick the kids up early on certain days, or take a day off to chaperone a field trip. She knows I work hard, and she never questions my work ethic, or makes me feel like a second-class citizen because I have family obligations. In return, I am a loyal, engaged, hard-working, and happy employee.
Of course, my boss isn’t perfect. She expects a lot from me — there’s no slacking in this job. Sometimes I wish she would hire more support staff. And sometimes she asks me to juggle too many projects at once. But for me, the tradeoffs are more than worth it.
You probably know the punch line. My boss is... me. Ba-dum-bum.
I’ve been self-employed for the past five years. Here’s why I’m telling you this.