Your Boss is Leaving – Should you Follow?

Your Boss is Leaving – Should you Follow?

Late last year I had a candidate that I was working with accept another offer from another firm. Her boss had just left, and in doing so, recruited her to come work for him at a competing civil engineering firm.

You can’t blame the guy for wanting to bring with him a stellar employee who is proven and successful, but she should have thought twice about her decision to follow…as should you!


It’s too easy. We are human beings, so it is natural for most folks to take the path of least resistance. In a case like this, if you are ready to move, by going to work for your old boss you know exactly what to expect. There is no risk. Without risk, there is no growth. There is an old saying, “A ship in the harbor is safe. But that’s not what ships are built for.” Don’t be a ship in a harbor.

You will always be second fiddle. If that is your personality and where you thrive, than that is fine. But if you want to take your career to the next level you’ve got to get out of the shadow of your boss. If your boss is so good that you are willing to follow him, why don’t you rather take all he has taught you and take a shot at a first chair opportunity.

You become stagnant. You may have learned A LOT from your boss and she may have provided you tremendous value in developing you into the skilled civil engineer you are today. By exposing yourself to different ideas, strategies, and perspectives from different leaders, you will grow both as a person and a professional. New insights will challenge and expand your mind. Have you ever seen stagnant water?

Obviously this can be evaluated on a case-by-case scenario. If, by following your boss you are elevated to higher levels of responsibilities along the way, then it may be worth considering. But especially in the earlier stages of your career, you should want to absorb as much information and knowledge as you can from different leaders; it WILL make you a better engineer.

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