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A Pricing Person’s Worst Boss

A friend of mine happens to be self-employed and works from home. And she told me that whenever someone finds out, they often express a little bit of jealousy…

“Do you ever work in your jammies?”

“Have you ever taken a laptop to the beach to work?”

“So you get to set your own hours?”

“You can take a vacation whenever you want?”

When she gets a question like this, she tends to respond with, “Yes, but working for yourself isn’t as great as you might think—my boss is a real a*****e.”

People laugh, of course, but the sad thing is that this joke has more than a kernel of truth to it.

Whether you work for yourself or for an employer, the worst boss you’ve ever had is probably you.

We’re all responsible for our own careers. We decide which positions to take and which to leave. We choose which classes to take, which new skills to learn, and which “hot trends” we don’t think are worth investigating. To a large extent, we determine for ourselves whether we are making a significant contribution to our company’s success.

In other words, we are all our own bosses.

And all too often, we let ourselves down in our role as our own bosses. We make choices—or fail to make choices—that we later regret. We treat ourselves harshly. We under-invest in our personal development. We don’t give ourselves opportunities that would stretch us in a new direction. We fail to give ourselves permission to fail. We neglect to take the vacation time that we really need to perform at our best. And in general, we just don’t treat ourselves the way we would expect a great boss to treat us.

We all want a manager who is supportive and motivational. And all managers want employees that are reliable, smart, creative, and self-directed. When you can look at yourself as your own boss, you can play both of those roles well—or you can really let yourself down.

As a pricing professional, you are in a very enviable position. You have the potential to make a very dramatic contribution to your company’s success. Few departments in the company can affect the bottom line as directly as pricing can, and few companies are really taking advantage of all that the pricing discipline can offer.

So are you making the most of this opportunity—or are you letting it pass you by?

If you want to be your own best boss, we recommend starting with some of the career-focused resources in Pricing Brew. For example, The Essence of Strategic Pricing discusses some of the fundamental concepts you need to understand if you want to shift from being a pricing tactician to a strategic thinker who makes a significant contribution to the business. Advancing Your Career in Pricing offers some concrete steps that can help you take charge of your own career. How to Hire Great Pricing People lists the characteristics you should look for in teammates—which are also the characteristics you should develop in yourself. And Boosting the Pricing Team’s Influence provides some strategies for getting a seat at the management table.

Don’t be an a*****e boss to yourself (or anyone else, for that matter). Start taking some simple steps that can help you be a better boss and employee. (And try to avoid showing up at the office in your jammies…unless you’re working from home.)


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