The Toughest Boss I Ever Knew


The toughest boss I ever had often made me get up at 5:30 in the morning to start work and often had me work until midnight or beyond. He made me work seven days a week. He forced me to work on the top priority jobs – to really focus on what needed to be done. He never thanked me for the work I did; never praised me for the sales I made or the successes I had.

I had friends who had the easiest boss in the world. Their boss lets them sleep in until noon; go to work in their pajamas; take the afternoon off; and be on vacation most of the time. Their boss lets them goof off. Do the unimportant while leaving the more important jobs undone.

Because of this tough boss, I succeeded and thrived. They did not.

The toughest boss I ever had was myself. I really have not worked for anyone; I have always worked for myself (or at least that is the way I felt). I started my business from the trunk of my car in 1979 and grew it to $350 million in sales prior to selling it to SYNNEX and I am now CEO of $2 billion SYNNEX Canada and so technically I suppose I do have a boss but don’t really consider that I do. And when I ran my company (EMJ), we were public so I had a board of directors and shareholders.

If you work for yourself, consider what kind of boss will help you succeed.

I am not actually proposing only the “toughest boss”. There likely needs to be a bit of “easy” boss mixed in. For each entrepreneur, they need to figure out the right balance for them.

One thing that is necessary in business is to run it like it is a marathon which means setting a pace that you can maintain forever. So you need enough “easy” boss to allow you to maintain the pace.

Tough boss can also learn to celebrate success a bit more.

Choose the balance that is right for you.

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