Do You Care what your Boss Thinks of You? What a Waste of Time!

A dialog. With myself. (From my working days.)

Shouldn’t I care what my boss thinks of me?
That’s his or her problem, not mine. Caring what my boss thinks of me is a waste of time, energy. It just causes unnecessary anxiety, unneeded worry.

What do you mean? You mean that caring what my boss thinks of me is a waste?Yes, it is waste. A waste of time. Of energy. Of space in my brain.

How can you say this? Doesn’t your boss have control over your employment and your future?
Yes, it may be true that my boss has a lot of power in my working life. However, where am I in all of this? If I spend my time thinking, worrying, and caring what my boss thinks of me, I am obviously not putting enough energy, time, and thought into doing my job.

This is so confusing to me. Please be more clear!
What is my purpose on the job? My purpose is to do my job as well as I can. The more distractions I have, the less energy, thought, and attention I have to do my job. So it stands to reason that eliminating distractions is beneficial to me doing my job. That includes worrying about other things. Including what my boss thinks of me.

How can you not think about what the boss thinks of you?
It also comes down to who and what I am. If I am straightforward about myself to myself and my ability to do the work in front of me, then my boss, and all bosses up the chain, can think whatever they want. I still have the work in front of me to handle and to do as well as I can.

Look at it this way. In my old way of thinking, I could not separate what my boss thought of me from what by boss thought of my work. That distinction might not be clear or obvious on first glance, but it is important. What my boss thinks of my work is vitally important because he or she (usually) is the judge of my work. So it is my best interest to do as good job as possible so the boss will see my work as good quality and valuable. But what my boss thinks of me is just their personal opinion that is as unimportant as what a stranger on the street thinks of me.

Without the distraction of worrying about what my boss thinks of me, I have the opportunity to see and think clearly about the work and the job. And to speak my mind from a place of clarity. It is my belief that any insightful boss will appreciate any forthrightness I might have about my work.

That’s very different from concerning myself with what my boss thinks of me. Conceding real estate in my brain to worry or to concern myself with what my boss thinks of me is a total waste.

Some bosses seem to judge people and not their work. What to do?
Well, are you going take on the task on fixing people? Usually you cannot fix others. If a boss focuses on a person instead of the work, then you know they are afflicted with misdirected attention. They need some serious coaching. Whether to bring this up yourself is definitely a serious question.

The solution is to keep my work all professional, all about the work, all about the tasks at hand. The personal side of everything should ideally be a not-at-work thing. Hard to do sometimes, but really much better for everyone.

Perhaps you can point out this error in perception to a boss, but it is not always a good idea. There are two schools of thought on this. One says bring it up, another says none of your business. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You are treading on thin ice by bringing up a personal error in perception to a boss. By doing so, you are violating keep-it-all-about-the-work which is what we have just been talking about. The other way of thinking is to be the best at what you do, and leave the boss’s personal problems to the boss.

By being all-about-the-work, you are showing the boss the appropriate behavior. If the boss picks up on it, all the better.

Maybe the boss will fire you!
Maybe. Maybe not. But whatever will happen will happen regardless of how much worrying in advance I do or don’t do. In fact, the less worrying I do, the more comfortable I will be with myself, and coincidentally, the more comfortable I will be with my work. I will interact with others (on the job and elsewhere as well) from a much more relaxed and centered state. I will have more energy and have a better frame of mind with less worry. And if it comes down later to needing to find a new job, I will definitely be in a better frame of mind.

What has been your experience dealing with your attitudes towards a boss’s opinions of you?

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