How to tell when you should leave your job is actually very simple: If your boss loves you, stay. If your boss does not love you, assess where you went wrong, and decide if you can fix it. If not, it’s quitting time.

The problem is that most people take very little responsibility for making their boss love them. Which, in turn complicates the decision about staying or leaving. Your number one task in a job is to get your boss to love you.

This means that you find out what your boss cares about, how your boss likes to communicate, what scares your boss, and how you can help. Of course, your career goal is not to help your boss. But if you boss loves you then he or she will help you to meet your career goals.

Here are common problems people have at work: Boring assignments, inflexible schedules, no recognition, too much red tape, no upward mobility. But these are all problems that disappear when your boss loves you. When your boss loves you she helps you figure out how to get around this stuff. When your boss loves you she’s like a teammate, trying to help you get what you want for your career.

But this should come as no surprise because the way to get your boss to love you is to worry about your boss’ career. See your boss’ roadblocks and get them out of the way. Understand your boss’ dreams and make it your job to facilitate them. Put aside your idea of your job description and just focus on what will help your boss.

How do you do this? Here are six steps:

1. Attend to detail. The details of your boss. You should be sure to learn something about your boss from every exchange you have. If you do not learn from the exchanges then there is probably little depth to your conversations, and that is the first step to a vacuous relationship.

2. Make each conversation meaningful. You can infuse meaning into your conversations with your boss by probing a little bit each time about what your boss cares about. Why is he or she rushed today? Or, by the way, what is the big deadline that consumed all of last week? Even something as basic as “How was your weekend?” is a fine way to learn something about the boss.

3. Listen to gossip. You can learn about your boss from watching him deal with other employees. Listen carefully to what co-workers say about your boss. Whether it’s true or not is secondary to how your boss is perceived in the ranks. The more you know about your boss the more you can cater to her.

4. Express gratitude. If you let your boss know what you appreciate about her, she’ll open up to you more because you will feel safe. For example, you can thank her for steering you away from a mine field in the marketing department. Or you can tell her you appreciate how well she did during a difficult moment in a meeting. Be specific and she will be flattered and touched. That will create a connection you need to understand your boss better.

5. Get over your shyness. Because if you are too timid to initiate conversation then you will not get to know your boss enough to make your boss love you. To get yourself talking, remind yourself that everyone wants to feel cared about. It’s hard to manage people because it means caring a lot about other people and it’s pretty one-sided. A manager will be thrilled to hear that a direct report cares about him.

6. Identify the culprit. Take a look at your track record. Have most of your bosses loved you but one doesn’t? Then it’s probably not all your fault. But most people who are not loved by their bosses were never loved by their bosses. And most people who are a pain are a pain in similar ways in all of their jobs.

So instead of focusing on why your boss is difficult, focus on what is keeping you from being loveable. It’ll be worth it. But you will find that the rewards of being loved by a boss are almost endless. Most importantly, you will like yourself better and you will love your job.

The time I am the most creative is when I feel the most trapped and desperate. These are the times when I see no model for solving my problem, and I have to come up with an all-new solution that will, invariably surprise even me.

I have found that bad situations get creative juices flowing. And I have come to have an appreciation for the bad times; they give us unique opportunities to find our best ideas. Here are some situations to keep an eye out for — they are invitations to creativity:

Bad situation #1: Nagging dissatisfaction. I'm not advocating depression; believe me, I've been there, and it's mostly about hiding in bed not about being a creative genius. But an inherent part of creativity is never being satisfied with what is there, always striving for something better. After all, if everything is going great, why think of a way to change it? People who are creative never think everything is great. So you don't have to be depressed to be creative, but you can't be jubilant.

Bad situation #2: Low budgets. No one ever came up with a grand idea when they had more than enough money. You would be stupid to think of new ideas when you have enough money to pay for what is already tried and true: Best practices, most outstanding performer, top-tier firms, these are all great places to spend a big budget. Why take a risk when you don't have to? The good news about a small budget is that you can't pay for the paths that have already lead to success. So you have to come up with a new path.

Bad situation #3: Feeling lost. The least creative people I know are those who knew exactly what they wanted to do after college, and did it, and never turned back. No existential crisis. No begging parents for dinner money. Just pure focus. The reason feeling lost is good is that it's the time you figure out what you're passionate about. Passion sweeps you off your feet when you're meandering. You can't get swept off your feet when you're moving fast, when you have a plan, when you're already going somewhere. You need a foggy focus to find passion. Most people who are creative will tell you that they didn't pick their form; it picked them. The form your creativity will take will show itself during a time you are lost.

Bad situation #4: Being wrong. Creativity requires knowing what you like. You can't depend on other people to guide you or else you are not being creative but rather responding to market research. Being certain of what you like means that you're going to be wrong a lot. Not wrong about what you like, but wrong about what will work. The market researchers will tell you. But much worse than being wrong is never being wrong, because then you are a research drone, a fact-gatherer, not a creative person. So strive for being wrong sometimes, as a way to gauge your level of creativity.

Bad situation #5: Nonproductivity. Thank goodness for times when you cannot seem to follow the rules, cannot meet deadlines. The people who do good work all the time don't leave room for ideas — for genius sprung from passion and blank stares. Sit at your desk and do nothing. Ditch work and go to a cafe. Empty time is the when creativity flows.

Take a second look at the disappointing situations of your life. You might find your creative genius has been suffocated by overwhelming focus on good times.

If you're out of work, or your job is so annoying that you wish you were out of work, then it's time to take an adventure. Some might say that an adventures is an expensive, childish way to avoid reality. This is partly true. But who cares?

The reality of adulthood is hard. There are no teachers stroking your ego with A's, there are no parents making sure you're doing fun and challenging activities every afternoon. So it is no surprise that putting off adulthood looks appealing. In fact, taking an adventure to see how other people do their lives is a good first step into adulthood because there is no better way to choose your life than to see how other people live.

There are some great things you can accomplish while you're adventuring:

You can use an adventure as a way out of a bad job. It's very hard to quit a job when you have nothing else lined up. But it's very hard to line up a new job while you're working at your current job. So a good way to ease yourself out of your job is to go on an adventure. You can tell yourself that you must quit now — now is the time for adventure.

You can sort out personal problems. A lot of career issues are actually personal issues. Do I want to be a doctor or do I want to please my parents? Do I want to settle down or do I feel pressure from my boyfriend? These are issues that dictate your career choices, but cannot be solved by changing jobs or rewriting your resume. Putting yourself in a new situation, away from the outside influencers you are used to — is will help you get a more clear perspective.

You can learn what you don't want. When I worked on a family chicken farm in rural France, one day, when we spent three hours looking for mushrooms in the forest, I said, “Why do we have to keep looking? It's taking so long and it's only mushrooms. Let's go home.” And the father said, “But how will we have wild mushrooms for salad?” I couldn't believe it. I wanted to have my mom buy some at the grocery store and send them via airmail. This is when I knew that although living close to the land looks appealing from the outside, but to me it felt monotonous and intellectually dissatisfying.

There are a few ways to get the money to travel. The most obvious is that you should alter your lifestyle And prolific travel blogger Ali Watters has a few suggestions: Don't get a car or a mortgage unless you absolutely need one Give up smoking or expensive trips to coffee shops — it wastes money each day. Stay away from material possessions. Before each purchase ask yourself what you'll do with it while you're traveling.

Ali also recommends that you go somewhere cheap; a month in Europe will cost you three times as much as a month in South East Asia.

If Ali's advice is too hard to swallow, you might try lining up a job that's an adventure. If you are under thirty years old you might be able to benefit from reciprocal work agreements with the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Adventure is a good choice for a lot of people. It will give you perspective on a career that's stuck, and if you don't even have a career, there's little difference between a good entry level job and an adventure. Both are about learning, trying new things, and making sure you don't starve. So when you are looking at your job choices, put travel right up there on top with everything else. It's good for your resume and good for your life.

I realized that managing Genertion Y requires a huge shift in thinking when I was giving career advice to my twenty-three year-old brother, Erik. He is a top recruit at a top investment-banking firm and he just got a promotion ahead of everyone else in his year.

And he’s looking for a job. He fought very hard to get that promotion. I told him I thought he owed it to the guy who promoted him to stay for a bit. Here’s the email response I got:

“I don’t feel loyalty to the senior people here. I don’t think they are treating me well at all. I asked the head of my group if I could change groups to get more experience in what I’m interested in and he said no. I’ve just been put on a time consuming project where I won’t learn anything and it’s going to last six months. I told the head of my group that I thought it was a bad project for my development, and his response was that he’s the one who controls if I get promoted, and he wants me to do it. I also was put on this project in lieu of doing something I’ve never done before, which would be very good for my development.”

At first I was shocked to read the email. I have been grateful for every promotion I’ve ever received. But you know what? My brother is right. He doesn’t owe the guy anything for giving him a promotion because my brother isn’t getting interesting work right now.

My brother is not unique to his generation. He is the norm. Especially for high performers. Here’s a list of ways to effectively manage young twentysomethings so that they will do good work for you.

As you read it, instead of thinking critically of the new generation, think about yourself. I have found that as I challenge my own assumptions with my brother’s way of thinking, I see more possibilities for myself.

1. When you are interviewing young people, don’t ask them why they left their last job. Or their last three jobs in three years. Who cares? Instead ask about their commitment to doing good work for you right now. Don’t bother thinking you’re hiring someone to stay at your company longer than you can keep the learning curve steep.

2. Manage a young worker every single day. But think of yourself as a coach. Check in. Help prioritize, teach tricks, steer their path. Independence is definitely not what young people are all about. They want mentoring, teamwork and responsibility. Just be sure to give them work that is challenging enough to them to warrant daily input from a coach.

3. Make the work meaningful. They want to know how their work fits into the big picture. How does it help the company? How does it help the team? And don’t even think of delegating those projects that involve five hours pushing papers through a copy machine: Outsource to Kinkos.

4. Forget about nine to five. No one needs it. Figure out the hours you need to be able to definitely see this person’s face. The rest of the hours are up to her. If you tell her you need to see her face nine to five, you better be sitting next to her the whole day, saying things that could never be emailed.

5. Learn to use IM. When a whole generation is addicted to it, you can’t ignore it. Baby boomer lifestyle is not going to dominate the office forever. Make the switch now before you are too slow to keep up with conversation.

6. Don’t ask young people to be patient. Why should they be patient? Who does that serve? As long as they deliver something to you every day, and they are not rude, leave them alone. Let them dream that they can achieve in one year what took you ten. Maybe they can. Don’t take it personally.

Don’t use jargon. I know you’ve heard this rule before, but maybe no one has ever told you the real reason for the rule. Your choice of jargon reveals your weakness.

A lot of jargon is specific to an industry and if you use it outside the industry no one will understand you. This jargon will undermine you because you are so likely to alienate someone by using words or phrases they don’t know.

There’s also jargon that goes across most industries. The phrases you hear whether you’re an accountant in consumer products or a programmer in health care. Most people understand this jargon, but using it makes you look bad because most cross-industry jargon is a euphemism for being desperate or incompetent or calling someone else desperate or incompetent. Here are some examples:

Let's think out of the box: Really means, “Can you creatively anemic people please come up with something?” People who really do think out of the box do it whether they are told to or not. That’s how they think. If you feel like you need to tell someone to think out of the box, then it's probably hopeless. The person who says, “Let's think out of the box” is usually desperate for a new idea and surrounded by people who are not known for generating ideas. So the phrase is actually an announcement that says, “I'm in trouble.”

I need someone who can hit the ground running: Really means, “I am screwed.” Because no one can hit the ground running. You need to at least assess what race you’re in and who else is running. Everyone has a race strategy when they are in the blocks. You need a little time to get one. In the case of a new hire this means taking some time to assess company politics. If your employer needs you to hit the ground running then you’ve already missed your window to achieve success.

Do you have the bandwidth? Note that bandwidth is not time. It is something else. If you ask someone “Do you have time?” you mean, “Am I a priority?” If you ask someone “Do you have bandwidth” you mean, “You seem like your brain is fried. Can you pull yourself together to do this for me?”

Let’s hit a home run: “I’m desperate to look good. Even though the odds of a home run are slim, I’m banking on one because it’s the only thing that’ll save me.” Something for all your sports fans to remember: If you have a bunch of solid hitters you don’t need a bunch of home runs.

You and I are not on the same page: “Get on my page. Your page is misguided.” No one ever says, “We’re not on the same page, so let me work really hard to understand your point of view. If you want to understand someone else, you say, “Can you tell me more about how you’re thinking.”

I’m calling to touch base: “I want something from you but I can’t say it up front.” Or “I am worried that you are lost and I’m sniffing around for signs to confirm my hunch.” Or “I’m calling because you micromanage me.”

Let’s run the numbers and see how they look: “I know they look bad on first blush. But the true use of Excel is to keep changing the formulas until you find a format that makes the numbers look good.”

My plate is full: “Help I’m drowning,” or “I would kill myself before I’d work on your project.”

Let’s close the loop: “Let me make sure I’m not going to get into trouble for this one.”

Let’s touch base next week: “I don’t want to talk to you now,” or “You are on a short leash and you need to report back to me.”

Keep this on your radar: “This will come back to bite you or me.”

Why are there no weight loss articles in Fortune magazine? Being in shape is an important aspect of managing your career. It is well documented that if you’re good looking you’ll make more money than an average-looking person doing the same job you are. This is because we are hard-wired to want to help good-looking people, and we’re hard-wired to want to be around them.

Before you start complaining that paying more money to people who go to the gym is totally superficial, consider this: You will perform better at the office on days you workout. Daily exercise improves your interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

“The results are striking,” said Jim McKenna, of Leeds Metropolitan University. “We weren't expecting such a strong improvement on productivity linked to exercising. Even more impressive was that these people already thought they were good at their jobs. Participants tracked mood, and as expected, exercising enhanced their mood. However, boosts in productivity were over-and-above the mood effects; it's the exercise”?or attitude related to exercise”?that affects productivity.”

Most CEOs exercise regularly, so you could say that regular exercise is important to getting that top job. But I have a feeling that most people who exercise do not want to be a CEO. The thing to take away from this research, though, is that the same self-discipline that gets you to regular workouts is the self-discipline that allows you to execute plans for your career and your life.

So go to the gym regularly. Or get some kind of exercise. Book it in your calendar the same way you’d book an office meeting. That time slot is done. Full. Non-negotiable. You are committed.