I'm Smarter Than My Boss!

Dear Cubicle Coach:

I hope this doesn't sound arrogant, but it's hard to take my boss seriously, respect her, or follow her directions — basically because I'm smarter than she is. Thoughts?

Dear Smarty Pants:

CC's experience is that the boss is usually the boss for a reason (unless it's one of those Lucky Sperm Club nepotism things). And there's something to be said for respecting the office. Look, you may indeed be smarter. But don't throw it in her face — you're smarter, remember? The reality is, she probably knows it, too. If she is insecure (as so many of them are), she may try to humiliate you by putting you in your place, or she may actually realize she needs you and then do her best to cultivate you. No matter what, make yourself and your work known throughout the company so the boss isn't your only pathway to power. Soon enough, though, you may have to move on. It's like tennis or sex — you only improve if you're stroking with someone as good as or better than you are.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani
Career
Share
Reshma Saujani Wants to Fix the Tech "Bravery Deficit" in Girls
Career
Share
The GE Executive Pulling Women Up the Ladder with Her
Created for GE
Career
Share
Are You a Female Doctor? You're Probably Getting Paid Less Than Your Male Coworkers
Career
Share
Gretchen Carlson's Lawyer Opens Up About Her Case, Sexual Harassment at Fox News, and Taking on the Most Powerful Man in Media
Career
Share
You're Better at Negotiating Than You Think You Are
Career
Share
The Surprising Connections Between Swimming with Sharks and Talking to Famous People
Career
Share
That Time I Stopped Explaining Myself—and Then Got Everything I Wanted
Career
Share
How I Started a Mega-Successful Company at 26—Without a Business Plan
Career
Share
The Power of Sorry: The New CEO of Lands' End Explains the Lessons She's Learned While Rising to the Top
Career
Share
What 5 Young Women with 5 Very Different Salaries Can Afford