Stuck? Find a Great Place to Work Instead

Key Point: I am saddened when I hear that people put up working for a lousy boss and/or company because of the feeling that it’s a necessity they’re “stuck with.” Of course most of us need a job. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the job you’re in. Putting up with a crummy situation is particularly common when the economy is weak and employment is tough to get. The fact is, if you have the right attributes to match good skills, you are a very valuable resource and are worth a lot. The more skill and experience you get the more valuable you are. You actually appreciate in value. The attributes that I believe in of course are self-accountability, respect and abundance. When these values are connected to high levels of job competence and experience, you become an “A” player and you have the right and personal responsibility to find a great employer and boss. You deserve it. 

What should you look for in an employer? First of all, the vision, purpose and mission of the organization must be clear and worthwhile. It should be meaningful to you. If you don’t believe in what the organization does, and where it’s going, how can you work there in an authentic way? If the company is for profit, the business model should be understandable and sound. You should be confident it provides value people want to pay for in the long run. If not for profit, know where the sustainable funding comes from. Working for any company that is always worried about having enough cash just sucks. People behave poorly under the stress of going from hand to mouth. If this is the case… Get out! Great companies are also deeply committed to investing in your ability to develop and appreciate giving you autonomy when connected with accountability. Superb organizations are more interested in results and the value you provide.

What should you look for in a boss? If the company passes the above sustainability “mustard,” then you deserve a great boss. How do you know you have one? They are clear about expectations, deeply care about your improvement, respect you as a whole person (not just the worker person), ask for your input, give you sincere recognition, and make pay and benefits mostly a non-issue. They expect and model excellence, are clear about what they stand for and believe in, make and meet commitments consistently. They are emotionally intelligent and inspirational. You want to work for them. They show that they care about you in genuine ways. They are not perfect, and make mistakes but are authentic and humble in their humanness. You trust them. If they have to make tough decisions, they’re fair. If they are in it for themselves, abusive, blaming, moody, unpredictable, and take all the credit for all that’s good but never shoulder the problems… Get out! Here is one test: When was the last time they genuinely asked you how you were doing? Offered to help? Showed you how much they care about YOU? Do they know anything about you as a whole person? If the answer is rarely or never… Get out! Or, get a new boss.

Character Moves:

  1. First of all, assess whether you are that “A” player. This is a combination of having a growth mindset, excellent functional competence and living the Character Triangle. If you feel like you are less than an “A” player… Create a plan to become one. What do you need to do?
  2. Rate your employer and boss according to the above. You deserve BOTH… A great organization AND boss! If you fall short in either… Develop a plan to get the best in both. You deserve it!
  3. Do not talk yourself into believing that you should work in a lousy environment to ” get experience,” or until the economy improves. You can get experience in a great environment too. And “A” Players are always in demand in any economy. Being an “A” player is like being a piece of real estate with a great view; it’s always marketable. You’re worth it. Have the courage to become an “A” player, working for an “A” company, with an “A” boss!

“A” all around in the Triangle,



  1. Yvette Piquette says:

    Hi Mr. Rubis,
    I was one of those students in the gym at St. Nick’s and was crying when you left. I remember that day so well. You made such an impact on my life and the lives of so many of us. You really cared about us and I knew that you touched me to do something great. I became a teacher because of you and the impact that you could have on young lives and the need to make every child feel special. I thank you for that gift! Good luck with your book and the goodness that you are still spreading.
    I have been teaching for the last 17 years in French Immersion and have coached running clubs for 10 years.
    Peace be with you,
    It was great to hear where our great leader went and what you are doing.

  2. Lorne says:


    Thanks for the note. This is definitely a tough situation. Working from the premise your boss is unlikely to change, I hope the organization is growing and big enough for you to transfer elsewhere in the company. If that is not possible , occasionally with the right intervention, a boss can change…lots of feedback and change. If your HR department is skilled, they can help navigate a 360 degree review and coaching ..but this is a long shot. If the leader is week, you will definitely not be the only one to experience the shortcomings. The leader is the one who must improve or be replaced. My frank advice however, is if you are going home feeling defeated more days than not, and you cannot see a change , the get out sooner than later. Before you do though, in the spirit of self accountability, have a good look in the mirror. Wherever you go next, you will be there . You want to make sure you understand your contribution to the relationship between you and your boss. Hope that helps somewhat.

  3. Sangeeta says:

    Hi Lorne,
    Thanks for your advice. What would you suggest can be done when you love the organization you work for but know that your boss has all the above you have mentioned. Getting out of that particular job but still staying with the organization is extremely challenging.

    Your blog is interesting and educational.

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