Do you feel like your job has reached a dead-end? Bored? Not challenged? So what can YOU do about it?
The title of this post is a quote from “An Officer And A Gentleman.” Remember the scene.
Poor Zack Mayo (played by Richard Gere, young and oh so handsome) was on a concrete slab doing sit ups and his Gunnery Sergeant (Louis Gossett, Jr.) was pushing him to quit or DOR. Zack was being physically and mentally challenged and his life at that moment was miserable. But, as horrible as this experience was, it wasn’t as bad as what his life had been before. Zack’s only hope for a better life was to stick with the Navy training.
Before you go crying that you’ve got no where else to go (except to leave the company), do what Zack did. Try hard. Communicate. Be a team-player and become likable. In the world of work, we often hear the term “manage up.”
Is there a reason you are at a dead-end? A little self reflection may help you see you aren’t performing as well as expected. And it is ultimately your manager/supervisor who sets those expectations, fair or unfair, right or wrong, extreme or realistic. Honestly, are there things you should be doing better? Have you missed deadlines? Have you sent unedited emails, correspondence, or reports? Is your work completed on time, or better yet, ahead of schedule?
And if you really want more responsibility or a promotion, why not volunteer to take on a project. Of course you want to get paid for your expertise and time, but, you may just have to prove to some people you have what it takes first. Go the extra mile. Ask if you can take on a specific side project that will benefit the company. See what they say.
Talk to Your Commanding Officer
If you don’t have regularly scheduled meetings with your supervisor/manager, start asking for them now! We all know that some people just aren’t cut out to manage, let alone lead. Don’t expect your manager to do more than they are capable of. Ask for a regularly scheduled meeting and suggest areas you would like to “touch base on.” Communicate your concerns without complaining. Ask for your manager’s input and suggestions, but ALWAYS have some of your own too! No one likes a complainer. Be a problem-solver.
And don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions you don’t necessarily want the answers to. Are you satisfied with my performance? “I would like to feel more challenged by the work I am doing here. What would you recommend I do to earn extra responsibilities? Can you see any reason why you wouldn’t support me as a candidate if I applied for the [internal job posting]?”
There’s No “I” in Team
You have to learn to perform well as part of a team, plain and simple. It takes tact and diplomacy to get along with others (some call it Emotional Intelligence). And you have to be likable too. Sure, you may be the most knowledgeable expert around, but if people don’t like working with you- well? You’re OUT, either literally or figuratively. You must figure out this stuff because it will come back to bite you again and again if you don’t!
It has been my experience that there are many more bad managers than there are good ones. Learning to manage your manager is a skill that will help you again and again. Here are some quick posts for you to check out.
Learn How to Manage Up HR Bartender
The Simple Rule for Career Success: Manage Your Manager Yahoo! Finance Canada
10 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Boss from The Daily Muse
Know When to Evacuate
There may come a time when your last option is to get outta dodge. I hope you have exhausted all your options before you reach this point! It would be a shame to throw away a good thing.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.