Meryl Williams
December 04, 2015 9:42 am

The first time I “met” my boss was in my job interview, over video chat. She works for our Chicago-based organization from her home in California, and I liked her almost immediately, the second she cheerfully apologized for the state of her living room behind her. Her approachability and positive attitude endeared me to her right away, and I ended that interview hoping more than before that I’d be lucky enough to get the gig. I was, and I’m so thankful for that nearly two years later. My boss turned out to not just be a great manager, but a friend.

I’ve had bosses and supervisors of many kinds, most of whom I’ve worked with just fine. There has only been one with whom I simply didn’t get along, but it was mostly because she didn’t show interest in or respect for my ideas and contributions. After a while, I stopped trying to contribute as much, and I found a different, more fulfilling place to work. But now, a few jobs later, I know that working for and with someone you enjoy being around as a person goes such a long way toward achieving a positive work environment.

Today I work in marketing, and I write articles and social media posts for the trade association my boss and I work for. Often she will call me on video chat to ask about a feature I’m writing, but then think to ask me if I caught the latest episode of The Voice the night before. We gossip about her current Mad Men binge watch on Netflix (she’s behind) and we show each other holiday gifts we’ve scored for our family members. It helps that there’s only a few years’ age difference between us – it’s enough for her to be able to relate to me on several levels, but to also serve as a knowledgable career mentor.

We do have boundaries – she will never call me about anything work-related outside of my 8-4 shift, but I happily welcome texts from her about how a new recipe turned out. She encourages me in my personal writing and loves that I play roller derby. She knows my nieces’ names and we heart each other’s pictures on Instagram. We tweet funny links at each other and email back and forth about new accounts we think the other will love following.

Most importantly, we work extremely well together. She not only supports my ideas and respects my expertise – she and I feed off of each other’s creativity and often brainstorm great social media and marketing ideas together. It’s one thing to have a manager who approves ideas you come up with, but it’s a different kind of magic to have one with whom you build and build, until the best possible solution presents itself. She trusts me to do my job but is also readily available if I need help with something. She is always great about commending me for my work to others at our association, and I do my best to thank her for the fostering environment she creates. It goes a long way toward making my job one I excel at and enjoy every day.

[Image via NBC]

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