5 Career Lessons From “Who’s the boss”

5 Career Lessons From “Who’s the boss”

I watched a movie on Netflix titled ‘Who’s the boss’ and I thought to do a write-up on it because there are so many career lessons to be learnt.

It’s a story of a lady Liah who worked as an EA to a director in an Ad Agency. She had a mean boss who never valued her talent and continued to undermine her ideas. Her boss sabotaged her opportunity to be promoted because she was secretly threatened by her ability to potentially take over her role.

Coincidentally, her friend (Jumoke) set up a meeting for her to pitch to a client. Without believing much in herself, she went for it and won the heart of the client. She was asked to bring in the CEO and she didn’t believe in herself enough to call herself the CEO so she got in her friend (Lekan who’s a professional actor) to stand in as the CEO

Her friends (Jumoke and Lekan) continued to push her and she kept on wowing clients who always preferred her pitch than the Agency she worked with. All roads and advice kept on encouraging her to quit and focus on her own agency but she didn’t.

Over time, the competition became stronger as the Agency she worked with started losing clients because they preferred her to her boss. At the point where existing clients started leaving to join her own client base, I thought that would be Liah’s Eureka moment but No, she kept on at the job and kept running both gigs together.

It was the point where her boss told her to work on a pitch overnight that she was equally working on that she burst out to her boss that she was the competition.

It only took a flimsy legal threat for her to cower back to the company. In my own HR Mind, I was just screaming, ‘Why can’t you resign? Unless you signed a non-compete, it’s just an empty threat’. Anyway, I continued watching patiently to see how it would play out.

Eventually, she accepted to sell her company to her current company and take up a role under them as the director which I felt was a terrible decision. Anyway, she(Liah) also felt miserable at the job. Towards the end when she won an award, Liah and her witchy boss bonded over her potential replacement and decided to make a grand exit out of the organization. Same threat of suing came up and she mentioned that they are resigning and starting from scratch (which I initially expected Liah to do)

Anyway the movie kept me thinking deeply as I could relate to the story from lots of people’s perspective. I’ve met people in Liah’s position (I still know them) and they have chosen the ‘safe’ and ‘cowardly’ position Liah took. Here are some lessons I learned from the movie.

  1. Know when it’s time

Like the bible says: There is a time and season under the sun for everything. As a Career Professional, your understanding of the times and seasons would greatly determine your success. There is a time to change jobs and there is a time to remain in your current job to grow and build depth. There is also a time to leave paid employment and there is a time to remain under paid employment.

It was obvious that Liah was talented and underappreciated and she was never going to grow if she didn’t take a big step for herself. Start with small side hustles to test the ground (if you’re considering entrepreneurship) or the best part is to move to another company that would value you.

Don’t stay too long in an organization that’s against your growth. I advise you have a detailed career plan. When you join an organization, give yourself a target of what and where you should be in a number of years and if it’s not looking like it, reconsider and restrategize.

  1. Be Confident in your skills and abilities

Liah knew she was talented, that’s why she wanted the promotion because she knew she had what it took. However, she believed it when her boss told her otherwise. Her boss downplayed her ability to take up the role and she believed it. As a career professional, always upskill and look for ways to demonstrate it. Be confident while at it. People would try to downplay you (in the name of constructive criticism), pick up the lessons and dust off the ‘judgement’

  1. Surround yourself with cheerleaders

One thing that stood out was the impact of Jumoke and Lekan (Jumoke especially). It made me do a self-audit to identify the ‘Jumoke’s’ in my life. If you don’t have at least 2 Jumoke’s in your inner circle, then you need new friends. Whilst praying for good cheerleaders, ensure you are also a ‘Jumoke’ to your friends and colleagues. Be the positive voice that pushes them to do great things and overcome their fear. Liah was also an expressive person, she didn’t keep her problems to herself, rather she shared it with the right people(The Lesson is clear)

  1. Know your rights

As a career professional and employee, you don’t need to be a lawyer or HR Professional to know basic labor laws and rights as an employee. The first step is to read through your employment letter thoroughly and understand it. If possible, ask your lawyer friend to interpret clauses/terms you’re not familiar with so that if your employer comes up with something against your basic rights, you won’t cower at the sound of an ordinary threat.

  1. Be Valuable

Liah was valuable. That’s why her boss was threatened. She wasn’t only talented to herself but she showed it by contributing ideas and covering up for her boss. If you’re unable to demonstrate value, you would not only be left behind and tossed around, switching jobs would also not solve the problem.


Please watch the movie and share your own lessons. I look forward to your comments.

Photocredit: From the Movie


Yewande Jinadu

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife Nigeria(careerlife.com.ng) and also a Strategic HR Business Partner of a leading tech firm. She's a certified HR Professional with a mix of Generalist and Specialist Experience who supports the business to achieve it's goals through the people. Her strengths are in Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Employee Engagement, Organization Development and Employer Branding. Her social initiative, CareerLife Foundation solving UN SDG Goal 8 is aimed at reducing unemployment by helping graduates and professionals become Employable and accelerate their career growth. With various awards won both locally and globally, her vision is to help millions of youths achieve measurable success in their career. Yewande holds the Senior Professional of Human Resources International (SPHRi) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), USA. She is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPM) and has a Practitioners License to practice HR in Nigeria. She's the Convener of the Employability Fitness Program, an initiative aimed at helping young graduates overcome interview Phobia and the barriers in Recruitment process through mentoring. She is a public speaker and has been featured on various media platforms including: BellaNaija, SheLeadsAfrica, GuardianWoman, Women of Rubies etc Some of her recognitions include: Top 50 Career Influencers in Africa by The Workbooth Magazine and also a the top 10 Platinum members of Career Influencers. Top 150 Global HR Influencer by Social Micole. Top 100 Career Women in Nigeria by 9to5Chick Top 30 Leading Women in HR by Worden HCD You can reach out to her by sending a mail to: info@careerlife.com.ng and follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @careerlifeng

3 thoughts on “5 Career Lessons From “Who’s the boss”

  1. I watched this movie last night and I can say we share similar views on this.

    One very important question I kept asking was “Liah, where is your lawyer”?
    Her friends had helped her thus far, she needed a professional to counsel and guide her.
    I still wondered why she didn’t think of that.

    The ending left me confused though.

    What did she gain?
    She lost Aliya (her company), lost Apex (her current job) and yet refused to partner with Hauwa (her exiting boss) to start up a new agency even though I knew Hauwa is only a user and has selfish interest.

    – In the multitude of counsel, there is safety. Therefore, seek counsel (especially from those who are qualified to give one)
    – Believe in yourself and your abilities.
    – Be your own number 1 fan. Even King David encouraged himself in the Lord
    – If overwhelmed, take time off to reflect and clear your head/mind. Clarity will come.

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