Q. For the past year, I have had a great job as a government contractor. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and I’m not micromanaged. I also really enjoy the work.
The only problem is the woman who supervises my contract. She takes a lot of vacation and often works from home, although I’m not sure how much she’s actually doing. As a result, I’m left to handle her duties as well as my own. I do all the work, but she gets all the credit.
I’m fed up with having the stress of her job without any recognition. Her boss seems to view me positively, but he doesn’t know that I’m doing the work of two people. However, if I complain, I’m afraid my contract won’t be renewed. Any advice?
A. You need to master the subtle art of personal publicity. Your goal is to enlighten management about your own activities, not condemn your supervisor.
If your boss is vacationing or teleworking, her manager has approved these absences, so he knows that she’s gone. What he may not know is the extent to which you are left holding the bag.
There is a bright side to this dilemma, however. Because you are doing your supervisor’s job, you have a legitimate reason to discuss work-related issues with her boss. So when she’s away, seek out opportunities to ask him questions or share information.
Over time, these conversations should make it obvious that your responsibilities have expanded. And this will be accomplished without a negative word being uttered about your absent supervisor.
Whereas griping about your boss might jeopardize your job security, increased communication with management will only enhance your career prospects. Sometimes, conveying a message indirectly is better than bluntly blurting out complaints.
Q. During my performance review, my manager asked me to make a list of ways that I can help to make the business more profitable. This makes no sense to me.
I’m just an accounts payable clerk with no management responsibilities. I do whatever I am asked to do and see no way that I can affect profits. What do you think he’s looking for?
A. Your manager is looking for ideas and suggestions. He’s encouraging you to think, not simply carry out orders. He also wants you to appreciate the impact of your work.
You may view yourself as “just” an accounts payable clerk, but your position is important to the company. So look at your work with a critical eye and search for ways to save time, reduce cost, or increase accuracy.
If you draw a blank, solicit ideas from coworkers who are familiar with your job responsibilities. Any suggestions for becoming more effective or efficient are likely to please your boss.