It’s what I call The Boss Epiphany and it can manifest itself in a few ways:
1. You realise that you don’t want the job your boss has. In other words the future that lies ahead of you in one that you don’t want
2. You realise that you don’t want to become the stressed out, hard nosed, work-all-hours person that you report into. And that the only way to get ahead in your profession is to become someone you don’t want to be.
3. You realise that most of the problems you’re encountering at work are because you are working with someone whom you don’t respect and you’re not learning from
It can be profoundly unsettling but massively insightful. Unsettling because you can’t see a future that you want to have and confusion particularly around work feels makes us feel insecure and uncomfortable. Insightful because if you don’t want to be your boss, the obvious question becomes who DO you want to be?
It also tells you whether it’s WHAT you do that needs to change, or WHERE/HOW you do it. So in scenarios 1 and 2, the likelihood is you’ll want to change WHAT you do (eg. you don’t want to be a lawyer,banker anymore). In scenario 3 if you fundamentally like what you do and it’s your boss that is demoralising you, you either find a way to positively address the troubled dynamic or move. It helps you get to the nub of the problem. (Admittedly, trickier if you’re your own boss though ;))