How to Bag Your Boss’s Job

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If you’ve been working in healthcare for some time and you feel you could do your boss’s job in your sleep, it’s time you formulated a strategy to take his job. This must be done carefully, following a subtle, well-executed plan, or you could find yourself on the street wearing a sandwich board and handing out resumes to strangers.

The plan:

“All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you plan to take the boss’s job you must conceal all efforts to do so. In fact, you should gain his trust by being a model employee. That means graciously accepting all assignments, even grunt work, as well as working late and coming in on weekends. Whatever you do, you must never let your boss feel that you can do a job, any job, better than he can. You’ll also need to do a bit of subtle brown nosing. Cheer for the same sports teams, adopt his hobbies—“to defeat the enemy, you must become the enemy,” Sun Tzu. The object here is to make your boss feel over confident, so much so that he’ll eventually bury himself in careless mistakes.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.” Sun Tzu

Sooner or later, you’ll need to engage in tactics to execute your strategy of making your boss appear incompetent. Sometimes, this requires a little push. One tactic is to ensnare him in a trap. This can be when your boss is about to give a key presentation to his superiors. Having gained his trust, and being too incompetent to prepare the materials himself, your boss would have assigned the details of the presentation to you. And you, seizing the opportunity, will have omitted a document, slide, or supporting data from the presentation. Another tactic is to steer your boss in a direction you know his superiors have a disdain for. You would then move in while his superiors are shaking their heads and save the day with a plan they want to pursue. Both are risky tactics that work only if your boss is already on shaky ground with his superiors.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” Sun Tzu

Seize every opportunity to befriend your boss’s boss and other members of senior management. Ask them for advice, not on specific tasks, but in general on improving the business, making things run smoother and more efficiently. Seek out a mentor among them, and nurture this relationship. When the time is right, ask them to assign you a high visibility task, one in which you can shine. Learn as much as you can about cost cutting, what competitors are doing, and the problems senior management face. Be the go-to person with solutions.

“Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” Sun Tzu

The time will come when your boss will realize that his job is in jeopardy. Before this occurs, you should have laid the groundwork for his transition to another division or group, selling him on the fantastic opportunity waiting for him. This escape route keeps you in his good graces and prevents any negative blowback on you, as incompetent bosses are prone to do.

Tired of working for an incompetent boss? Let him “defeat himself” and take over his job. Incidentally, if you’re not a follower of Sun Tzu, get a copy of How to Steal Your Boss's Job: Corporate Secrets & Dirty Tricks to Get the Job YOU Deserve by Warlizard.  It’s packed with information about crazy boss types and strategies to take over their jobs.


Image courtesy of Ambro/


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