Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
My last article was about really bad bosses and how to cope with them.
This time I want to share three success stories of clients who woke up to the reality of their wicked manager and pivoted wisely to a create a positive outcome. And they learned valuable strategies; now a vital part of their career tool box.
Success Story #1
Daniel was the young man who wrote in to me from the last article. He had a rotten new manager who was stripping him of his responsibilities, ignoring him, and making it clear he only wanted to work with the direct reports he brought over from his last company.
Daniel took my advice! He reached out to two of his former managers and explained his situation and his availability. He also reminded them of the skills and accomplishments and made sure to show that he was still a positive guy, despite having a bad boss! He explained that he was ready to move forward, still hard-working, confident and ambitious, but recognized it was time for change. Both former managers were impressed with his maturity and the way he was handling a tough situation. And one had an opening. And it turned he knew the bad manager as they are all in the same industry. He was impressed that Daniel was good at reading the situation and reaching out to make productive change. Daniel just received his new job offer and it is for a more responsible position and higher pay.
Success Story #2
Liz was happily working at large high tech company and enjoyed the challenges in her position as a product manager. She worked for two years under two different and excellent managers. But a third one was brought in who seemed not to like her from Day #1. Liz had no idea what the problem was, and set up meeting after meeting with the new manager only to find he had little interest in communicating with her, other than criticizing her work or questioning her decisions. It took her some time to realize that he was doing this to her peers as well, but not before her confidence started to erode. She did finally open her eyes to reality that his manager was a true narcissist and only interested in building his career. In fact, the one time he showed an interest in her work was when he put a star on a specific objective and actually said, ‘Do a good job on this project, my bonus is based on it!” She was stunned, but that finally got her to start interviewing internally and fortunately, her work in that first two years solidified her reputation.She was about to move to a different department, far from her horrible boss and she has gotten her career back on track.
Success Story #3
Alexander’s case is an interesting one. He was working as a graphic designer for a large corporation and though he was getting positive feedback on his work, he never liked his work and thought that problem was his manager. He wondered how he could have the misfortune of having one bad manager after the next. He felt that none of his managers protected him from his work overload. No matter how hard he worked, and no matter how much he produced, he felt like was ‘cattle whipped’ into doing more. He actually became a client of mine when he felt desperate that he would never find happiness at work. After much discussion and some exercises to see what he really enjoyed doing, and what skills he liked to bring to the workplace, we realized he was in the wrong profession. In fact, he really did enjoy art and had majored in art in college, but he was a perfectionist in art so he was not able to work as quickly as his corporate graphic design position required. And he really wanted to use his art and design skills in his personal life, not in his professional life. In fact, he loved business and working with people. He also loved technology and explaining technology. We had him transition his career into corporate sales in the high tech world and now, three years out, he is a very fulfilled and happy professional, pleasing himself and his management, and tripling his income in the process.
What are the takeaways from these three success stories?
*Size up your situation and if you have a really bad manager or if it’s a really bad fit, make change.
*Managing a career is much like sailing. You’ve got to continually check on the weather conditions, see how the winds are blowing, check to make sure you’re going in the right direction and be confident and capable in changing course when necessary.
Onward to bringing your best to work,