Boss keeps hinting staffer needs MBA to advance in firm - Albuquerque Journal

Boss keeps hinting staffer needs MBA to advance in firm

Dear J.T. & Dale: My boss keeps dropping hints that the only way I’m going to get promoted to his level is if I get an MBA. But I don’t want to go back to school or spend all that money. It really upsets me, because I could do his job in my sleep. All he does is brag about his degree, but he’s really not that smart. Do you think I could go around him and talk to his boss to see if I really do need this MBA? — Carola

J.T.: I don’t know that I necessarily would go around him. If he found out that you went to his boss, he could be pretty upset.

DALE: On the other hand, if it’s the sort of company where you occasionally run into and chat with various executives, you could casually bring it up. No need to mention your boss, just ask execs how they feel about an MBA, mentioning that you’ve been weighing the idea. If all goes well, you’ll know if it’s a corporate necessity or just your boss’s personal obsession.

J.T.: If that casual approach doesn’t succeed, you may have to do some more formal information gathering. I’m concerned because it sounds to me that your manager is using his MBA as a way to make sure that you don’t pass him in the company’s employment hierarchy! What I would do is go find some managers who are his level or above in other departments and see if you can meet and talk about MBAs. If one clearly isn’t required, then you’ll want to sit down with your boss and explain what you learned and that you’d really like to focus on the next steps to advancing in the company without another degree. If he’s not willing to do so, then I would say it’s really time to move on.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I have been working remotely from my parents’ house in Florida for the last year. My boss did not know this. I just found out that a month from now, they want us to start coming back into the office a couple days a week. I don’t want to leave Florida. How soon before we’re supposed to go back should I present the idea that I would like to stay remote? I don’t want to lose my job without a new one, and I’d like to keep this job if possible. — Robb

J.T.: I think you need to meet with your boss right away. I would create an outline of all the things that you’ve done throughout the pandemic to be of additional value to the company. I would then explain that you want to live in Florida and that you would not be able to come into the office. Also mention that if they can’t make the exception, you’d like to work together over the next month so that you could land a new job before they let you go. If you’ve earned some kind of trust with management, I hope they would be willing to do that. Plus, I’m sure they don’t want you to just give two weeks’ notice out of the blue, so this is an opportunity for both of you to end your time together on a positive note.

DALE: With a significant proportion of employees balking at going back into the office, I think your employer will need to be flexible. And, given that they are talking about returning just a couple of days a week, I sense they’ll be open-minded. However, I wouldn’t count on it. That’s why I would NOT suggest that you declare that you’re quitting if you can’t be remote. Instead, I’d gently test the waters with management to see if they are making any exceptions to the new policy. If not, start a job search there in Florida and keep your job, even if you have to fly back and forth a few times. Given the huge shifts in workplaces going on, you need to buy time and keep your options open.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2021 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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