I recently visited a large organization, taking a look at how they managed their SQL Servers. I spent most of my time with the production DBAs, but in one short section of the meeting, the production DBA's boss came in for a short visit. In the less than 10 minutes he spent talking to us, it was very apparent he was the boss from Hell. He even made Dilbert's boss look like a good guy. This got me thinking about some of the bosses I have had as a DBA, and then I started thinking about what makes a good boss. Here is what I came up with. The boss should know how the organization runs, inside and out. The boss should know IT technology, inside and out. The boss should be very familiar with SQL Server, even though the boss may not be a DBA. The boss should be a leader, the kind of person people look up to. The boss should be a good manager, knowing how to get the best out of his or her available resources. This would include great project management. The boss should treat this staff with respect and professionalism, and help his staff grow in their career development. The boss I met failed each of the above points, and it was so bad, that anyone who just spent a few minutes with him would agree. I would never be able to work for such a boss. The problem is, that when you start a new job as a DBA, you may or may not be able to speak to your new boss. And if you do, it is often hard to tell much about him or her, unless you run across one like I just met that is so obviously terrible that you can tell virtually immediately. So what can you do? If at all possible, I think it is important that you interview your potential boss before you accept any new DBA position. Often, you can do this at the same time he is interviewing you, or if you aren't interviewed by him, ask if you can speak to him or her before you decide to accept any job offer. Another option is ask his staff what they think of him or her (this may be difficult, but sometimes possible). And last, be sure to do an Internet search on the boss to see if you can find out anything about him or her on the Internet that might give you a clue. In other words, it is very important to check out any future new boss. There is nothing worse than starting a new job and finding out that the boss is a jerk. It causes a lot of unnecessary stress and takes all the fun out of the job. But if you strive to be an Exceptional DBA, then you will need a boss that will support you, so it's worth making the effort to find a great boss. If you do get stuck with a terrible boss, either because you couldn't find out about him or her before accepting the position, or because your old boss was replaced by a new boss after already going to work for an organization, I suggest you begin looking for a new job. I know this is tough for many people, but it can be done. Working for a terrible boss is just not worth it. Period. Let me know what you think.