Yesterday I was filling one of those password recovery forms and one of the questions was about the name of my first boss. Of course I remember his name, and I immediately thought he was my first boss, if I consider full time jobs, and he happens to be the best one I had so far.
What was so special about him?
Let's start from the moment we met, I'd say t was "love at first sight".
I had just graduated in CS and was looking for my first full time job as a developer, so I was interviewing with a bunch of companies, most of them being quite big (> 1000 employees) so you first have to pass the HR screening and then you get to meet with manager from the business units that need to hire people.
I was close to accept a job offer but I wanted to do one more interview, and I'm really glad I did.
I met this man in his late 40s, very friendly guy, and he tells me he's starting a new business unit within the company and he wants to hire some young developers, no previous experience required but he wants folks with some coding skills. We start talking about operating systems, kernels, he asks me to code something in C and I show him part of the same code in assembly (I don't remember if the code was actually correct, but that impressed him so that's an interview tip, be proactive and if you have some skills that fit the job show them!) and I get the feeling we like each other. Suddenly he say something I didn't expect: "You know, I'm quite hungry, why don't we have lunch together so you tell me more about yourself?".
Sure, great. That was the first and only time it happened to me. I felt I was still interviewing, in a way, but it was more about myself, what I loved to do, hobbies etc.
At the end it was time to get back to office and he told me "I'm paying for the lunch today, you'll pay next time, cause we're going to meet again, right?". And sure we did, I accepted his offer and in a few days I was sitting on my desk working for him.
That was the interview part, but it didn't stop there.
I had coding experience, but working for a big company is not like coding for personal projects or for a small firm like I did in the past.
He taught me about managing my time, he kept telling me I was talented as a developer but needed to get better at doing estimates. He let me attend some meetings about the project on my own, I never made decisions involving money or big milestones, but he always trusted me about technical stuff, he was really smart but wanted me to make decisions and hold responsibility for them.
That helped me a lot, and is something I experienced only a few years later in a smaller company.
My commute was less than 20 minutes so I got at office early in the morning and didn't mind staying late, but he usually told me to go home and relax, he didn't want me to work too many hours, something quite common in big companies, and other business units.
I remember I was so happy to work with him I was planning to staying in the company for years, and suddenly he summons me in its office to give me the news, he's quitting to start his own company.
I never ended up working for him again, as he worked in a completely different industry, but for some years he called me every time he came to Milan just to have lunch together, and he kept giving me advices about my career.
He was the first, and the best boss I could possibly have. If I ever get to be a manager I hope I'll be able to be like him.
I'd love to see someone replying with his story about the best boss in his career, and forgive me if this post was too sentimental, but even at office we're still humans, and personal relationships are very important.