“Why is no one recognizing my contributions?”
If you thought the days of the overlooked admin were over, think again. Unfortunately, too often the tasks that admins do for a team project are simply considered “part of the job.”
Many admins say their work sometimes goes unnoticed, though colleagues do notice when work doesn’t get done (and nobody wants that sort of recognition).
Step up and claim the recognition you’re due with these tactics:
Lay the groundwork for the future. Maybe you should let go of a recent incident, so you can shift your thinking. If you’re too upset to talk unemotionally with your boss about a recent slight, for example, it might be better to back-burner it. If others write off your behavior as “overreacting” or “needy,” you’ll only lose ground.
Instead, ask yourself, “How can I make sure I’m recognized next time? What steps can I take now to put myself in a position of strength?”
Make your ambition explicit. It’s possible that colleagues don’t realize what you want out of your career. So initiate a conversation by saying, “I want to do more/be more involved with (fill in the blank) and contribute to our team in a different way. What would you suggest I do?”
The key is to turn a “woe is me” feeling into a positive “how can I change this?” conversation, says Tamy Raina, who has been an admin for 40 years, and now works in the C-suite of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. “Now they see you as someone who has more to give,” says Raina. “Now you’re working together on the solution. Now you’re in a conversation.”
Practice shameless self-promotion, suggests Raina.
“You have to blow your own horn. When I meet with my boss, I’ll say things to make sure she knows I’m always behind the scenes working, but I do it without coming right out and saying, ‘I did this!’”
Example: Raina might talk about what particular exercise worked well during a team luncheon she led (flaunting her skills), or ask her boss to approve something she drafted over the weekend. She always looks for ways to “nudge” her boss, she says. Other admins opt for a more direct approach.
Earn recognition in whatever way you can. Raina puts in extra hours for high-profile volunteer projects. The result? Her photo has appeared in the local newspaper and within company PR. It doesn’t go unnoticed by her boss or her boss’s boss.
Indoctrinate new bosses. When you change jobs or a new boss comes in, sit down with the person right away.
After you find out what her needs are and how she likes to work, convey your own skills and passions.
Talk about what you can do, what you enjoy doing and what you’d like to do more of. “It sets the tone,” says Raina.
“When new opportunities come up, you’ve already opened the door for yourself.”
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