Q: “I think I may have made a fatal mistake at work. The manager who hired me resigned a few months ago. His replacement is a great guy, but he is not familiar with our organization. Since he doesn't understand my role, he gives me assignments that are well below my level.
“At first, I just kept my head down and did whatever I was asked. However, I’ve recently learned that less qualified people are working on projects which should have been mine. I’ve also heard that my boss goes to other departments for information that he could easily get from me.
“Now I’m wondering if I’ve kept my head down too long. It’s no secret that our company may have layoffs this year, and I’m afraid I might be on the list. I obviously need to have a conversation with my manager, but I’m not sure what to say.” Overlooked
A: You need to say all the things that you should have said when he arrived. By “keeping your head down," you managed to fade into the woodwork while your boss was learning the ropes. As a result, he has no idea of your true worth.
The wiser course would have been to quickly schedule a meeting to discuss your job, your background, and your current projects. At the same time, you could have learned more about your manager’s goals, expectations, and priorities.
Like many people, you were probably waiting for your boss to make the first move. Sadly, however, many new managers fail to take the initiative to acquaint themselves with their staff. As you’ve learned the hard way, it’s the employees who usually suffer from this oversight.
To avoid becoming a layoff target, request a meeting with your boss to clarify your role and explain how you add value to the department. This is definitely a case of better late than never.
Are you afraid to discuss your accomplishments? Perhaps this quiz applies to you: Are You an Office Wallflower?