Ask Your Career Counselor

Kick your boss upstairs and inherit his job

THERE ARE only two ways to earn big money as an employee. First, join a company that pays big money. Second, get into a position that pays big salaries and perks.

This sounds so simple, but in real life it isn’t easy. Joining is easy, but thousands of career people have worked hard to move up the organizational pyramid but failed to get promoted because their immediate boss has nowhere to go.


Boss barrier

If you’re ambitious, young, and full of potential, you’re an irresistible force. If your boss is a solid performer who finally got promoted to his level of incompetence, he’s an immovable object. When an irresistible force hits an immovable object, something’s got to give.


Bosses often stand in the way of career progression among young potentials. If you want your boss’ job, there are three ways to get it – through his retirement, termination or promotion. Hoping for the first takes time, the second is almost impossible, but the third is more doable.

Can you really promote your boss? You can’t, but you can help him get promoted by the powers that be.

Promote your boss

Rene Cristobal, a seasoned CEO in microfinance, construction, workers’ migration and other noble pursuits, has a great advice. “Many employees hate their boss and will not help them get promoted. Look at it from a cost-benefit analysis. What does it cost you to help a boss you hate – pride? What are the benefits of helping your boss get promoted? That boss who decides on your pay and career will owe you a debt of gratitude. When he moves up, he can hand down his position to you or take you to greater heights.”

In life and career, there are two ways you can play your career cards. You can make your boss hate you so much so that he can throw you into smithereens and you’ll never know why. Or you can make him love and thank you and make you his crown prince or princess.

If you prefer the second way, here are a few tips:

Make your boss comfortable with you. Never appear to be a threat to his career. Many summa cum laude graduates or those with IQ of over 180 seldom get hired. Insecure Filipino bosses abound in today’s workplace. Genius or not, you must be a likeable, amiable, unassuming, loyal, courteous, obedient, helpful and competent subordinate – at least in the early goings.


Don’t give your best performance early. If you want to please your boss, don’t peak too soon in your performance. Ensure a level of performance that will make you pass through the six-month probationary period. But impress your boss as a no-nonsense person who produces results that he wants, as he wants them, when he wants them. Avoid overselling your talent and potential, as it might not just impress him, but also inspire fear and insecurity.
Never outshine your boss. It pays to make your boss know that he knows best. Let him be the legend in his own mind. Your role is to support him in his performance. When you’re in the same meeting or stage, never attempt to outshine him. In front of his bosses, credit your own boss for his inspiring leadership and magnificent inspiration. Bosses are always jealous. While they say that they are proud of subordinates who excel, they actually hate subordinates who get more noticed by top management than them.

Make your boss larger than life. Support your boss all the way so that he will always appear brilliant than he really is. Perform your job well and quickly, and have time to help your boss with his job. Offer to make his Power Point presentation, draw his graphs and charts, or draft his reports and memoranda. Always turn in completed staff work.

Never make your boss look silly. Even when your boss makes a mistake during meetings, do not openly attempt to correct him. Nonchalantly or surreptitiously pass a note to him when others are not looking, so that he can correct himself. Others should never see him being corrected by his subordinates. Better still, prepare talking points or background information for your boss whenever he has a meeting about a subject matter that you’re more familiar with.

If you take care of your boss’ career so well, he will know that you’re helping him get promoted. When he is in his new corner office at the executive suite, he will remember you, and just like Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “I say unto you, this very day you shall be with me in paradise.”

Nice words to hear, after the scourging and crucifixion you get for working with a boss you hate!

Subscribe to Inquirer Business Newsletter
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: boss, Career, promotion
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.