Are You Being Taken for Granted on the Job?
In previous posts, you actually had it good when your boss valued you too much to let you go. You get the same outcome but none of the kudos if it is taken for granted you will do your job well.
Some jobs are easier to take for granted. Examples might be the background organization of a big meeting or convention, production of a regular report, or delivery of a well-established program. Here, obviously, fighting fires is considered failure.
Other jobs seem to consist largely of putting out fires. People in them are more likely to be hailed as company heroes but frankly, even a job like that can fall into this category if the incumbent tries hard enough.
How do you know if you’re being taken for granted?
It’s mostly a feeling but here are some cues:
- A proposal impacts your area but nobody consults on whether it will cause you glitches.
- Your work problems are considered trivial (e.g. the sound system isn’t up to the size of the room).
- Your evaluations emphasize “does a good job; delivers what is required” and not “exciting new project successfully delivered” or “huge obstacles effectively overcome.”
- Nobody (even perhaps you) sees you as the next boss.
What can you do about it?
Do not complain to your boss. The best you’ll get is a pat on the head and the assurance that you’re valued. The worst: the boss sees you as a whiner and a bad team member.
But some things might help:
- Make improvements which save time or money. I’m not talking nickels and dimes. If you do that, it will simply confirm that you deal with minutia. It needs to be big, bold, and must save money or time. Examples might be cutting the number of reports by 50%, or delivering your program at two-thirds the cost. This isn’t always possible but if it is, you’ll get attention.
- Talk up the fires successfully brought under control. Out-of-control fires reflect badly on you. However, fires successfully controlled and discussed after the fact can increase the respect people have for you. The hurricane downed the power lines but our portable generators kept things running. OR The press wanted to do an in-depth report on the tanker accident last week but I convinced them it wasn’t worth it.
- Bring up interesting issues in your area. Every specialty can have dilemmas which can intrigue others. Ordering on-line is great; however, maybe the high percentage of returns is caused by customers who can’t picture themselves in the garments. OR People want to connect at our conventions, but they’re so big. Maybe we can sell an app to identify when targeted people are in the vicinity.
- Do not slough praise. It’s tempting to say, “Ah, it was nothing,” when praised. Don’t. Instead, say something like “Thanks. It was tough but I’m glad it worked out.” Elaborate on why it was tough if asked.
These examples may not perfectly fit your situation, but the principle is to increase your value to the company by subtly raising the profile of your work and the challenges you successfully overcome.