Make Your Boss Useless

Make me useless.

So I said to my Bambi-eyed Senior Account Executive, whilst sipping my coffee. Sheltered by the coffee stall’s awning against the pouring rain, we spoke of her performance goals, which I’ve crafted the weekend before.

My ultimate goal is for you to make me useless to the Client by taking over what would otherwise be done by me. For when you can do so, you’re ready to be promoted.

Since my early days as a sophomoric Account Executive, I have always enjoyed the luxury of working under the guidance of battle-scarred old hands and weathered minds. I was transformed from a once-virginal Account Executive into the most seasoned whore on the street, all thanks to a particularly skillful Account Director, whom I worked with on the L’Oreal account. I picked up all the operational skills I needed, to survive on the harsh, brutal streets. Alongside with my hardcore whore education, I was blessed with the opportunity to work directly with my former Group Account Director, whose wealth of knowledge can be only challenged by so few. I was groomed to think strategically – what’s my contingency plan, what are the implications, what is my conclusion from my findings?

Being habituated to the informal government of such senior authority from the start of my career has its problems, of course. I have become so accustomed to the macro-management that I found it extremely difficult to report to mid-weight Account Managers. They were superb as Suits, don’t get me wrong, but they do not macro-manage me the way a pair of old hands would.

As Account Managers, your management skills are as raw as they get. You have barely retired from the daily operational activities, and now you find yourself suddenly being responsible for the career of another. I’m not sure if I can speak for all Account Managers, but the success of my SAE reflects my capability as her mentor. Likewise, her failure reflects my incompetence. For the beliefs, which my Group Account Director held close to her heart, I am glad I inherit them.

There is a fair pool of young Account Managers and Account Directors like myself, whose careers have escalated rapidly in a very short span of time. Along the way, I believe it is fair to say that not everyone deserves their promotion. While it is unfortunate, it is common for these inexperienced young guns to go for personal glory as though they were still rookies trying to capture the big bosses’ attention, and neglect their subordinates under them. Often or not, these subordinates suffering from career malnutrition are reduced to that of personal assistants.

At that, I’ll just like to bravely say, I don’t see how buying coffee or arranging for meetings contribute to career improvement.

I’m determined not to be one of those selfish and foolish Account Managers, who do not realize the importance of being a good mentor – which eventually leads to the art of delegation; the most essential skill any leader should have.

And that’s why I want my SAE to make me useless.


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