How important is your manager?

… pick your manager first. A great manager will negate most other work problems, whereas an awful manager will negate most other work pleasures.

I found this in a post on Scott Berkun’s blog, and it is oh so true! It’s the single most important factor in my satisfaction with a job. Nothing else shapes my memory and my judgment of a past job as much.

A couple of caveats apply to tech writers:

  • Unless you’re working in a dedicated documentation department, even a good manager may still need to learn a thing or two about good documentation. You can spot a good manager if he’s willing to listen, but still keeps you on your toes.
  • I guess few tech writers actually get to pick their manager. Yet all else being equal, go for the better manager, when choosing between two departments – or, hey, two job offers…

What do you think? How important is your manager to your satisfaction and sense of progress in a job?