Whatever You Do, Don’t Be Smarter Than Your Boss


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Dear Liz,

I had a great two years at my current job but now it’s time to go. For two years I kept myself squashed into a tiny box, as you would say.

I like the job except for one thing. My boss “Haley” is the most insecure manager I’ve ever met. This is her first management job, and her inexperience shows. She has to be involved in every little decision. She has to feel like the boss, all the time.

Haley can’t stand for anyone to do anything worthy of notice by the higher-up managers. So, for two years I tried to stay under the radar. Finally, it became impossible. I was put in charge of a big project that put me into daily contact with our VP of Sales and Marketing. Haley couldn’t deal with it. She started to pick at everything I did.

I finally told the VP of Sales and Marketing about my problem. He completely understood, but he doesn’t have any job openings in his department. He told me that if I need to move on, he understands and he’d be happy to be a reference for me.

The higher-up managers in my company love me. I’m seen as one of the top performers here, but my supervisor is my biggest obstacle.

What should I do? I hate to leave a job where I’m doing so well, but the pressure from Haley is constant. She’s always on my case. It’s oppressive. I guess I should have been more careful not to appear to be smarter than my boss. Most bosses can’ go for that, I guess.

Thanks for your advice, Liz!