‘You’ve really become a boss, haven’t you?’

A friend stopped in last night. It was close to 6 p.m. and it was my only quiet moment in a very, very stressful two weeks. I wanted to be home, but I just can’t with people hunting me down (and, sometimes, it feels like hunting me for sport) all day.

He said it’s the first time I have a big team reporting to me. I said not really. Everyone (the high-dollar talent, not the marketers) reported to me in the sense of checking in/getting assignments/pitching ideas/seeking green lights on projects, even if I wasn’t always the direct paycheck-signer. Because, they knew where the seat of power was.

He said well you have support staff again. Which is true. He said both have reams of experience. I said yes. One is a great utility player. I couldn’t do this without that person.

He said, and the other has tons of experience in a related industry. He said it as a fact, not as a question.

I said well. That’s what this person keeps telling me. I have yet to benefit from all these reams of experience.

That’s when he laughed and said I’ve officially become a boss.

That stuck with me for a while. I guess he was nicely saying that I used to be nicer.

What I wasn’t saying is that every day brings an argument. I think this person has talent. And incredibly good insights. But is so focused on being a pain in everyone’s butt that it’s very easy to forget what contributions they could bring.

I mean, just this morning I got an email saying I made their work great but I should really thank them for all they did to make it readable for me in the first place.

Well, that’s one way to go about it.

I don’t have a boss anymore to shield me from what happens above. My inbox is loaded with long back-and-forth conversations on 12 million topics. Aside from that, I’m teaching basic stuff to people who have been in the biz twice as long as I have. And trying to get people who have had no direction (from above or within) to accept MY direction. Oh and these people and their goddamned special reports. My kryptonite. Sheesh. The stress never ends.

I’m not ready to give up by any means. But this past month has felt about a year long. And I don’t feel like much of a boss in any sense of the word right now.

But at least I’m nothing like all my absentee bosses. They’ve all moved on and whether they have done better is a mystery. I’m super-grateful that the company (most companies I’ve been at, really) recognizes that I was a hidden gem all along and can shine without that layer above me. But damn, every once in a while I miss the one purpose they always served for me — an umbrella — so at least I could focus on the mud on my shoes. Now I’m up to my ass in muck AND soaked to the bone.

As I keep reminding myself, I have authoritah now. If anyone can fix it, I can. And if I can’t, then no one can.

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