Published On : May 05, 2015
3 Signs Your Boss Is Becoming a Career Obstacle
When you landed your current job, words were insufficient to describe your excitement. That day ranked as one of the most thrilling and deeply satisfying days of your entire life, as you scored a slam dunk on the one endeavor (the job search) and launched into exciting and unknown new chapter of life at the same time. You were on your way! You made it through the first big gate! You hit that job with everything you had, hoping the opportunity would lead to bigger and better things ahead.
But then somewhere along the way, your big plans and ambitious goals were mysteriously derailed. You threw yourself into the job for six months, asked for a promotion, and were denied, since you hadn't yet proven yourself. You were asked again and were denied a year later, on the grounds that you still had more growing and learning to do. You're "growing and learning" with all your might, and you're trusting that your boss wants what's best for you and wants nothing more than to move you along toward your dreams. But that scenario isn't playing out the way it should… What's happening? As you move forward with your career plans, keep these considerations in mind.
1. People Care Most About Their Own Careers
Usually, people care about one career trajectory above all others: their own. And if you're excelling in your current role and making your boss look good, there's a strong chance that he really doesn't want to see you go. It's in his own best interests to keep you exactly where you are, and he'll make excuse after excuse to keep you in your chair. Look for a few tell-tale signs of this motivation, for example: His praise may seem very excessive each year right around review time. But he seems to be using over-the-top praise as a substitute for meaningful raises or real opportunities for advancement. He's hoping that if you feel like you're great at what you do, you won't need more money or a new position.
2. Your Boss May Not Know Exactly What you Can Do
If your boss just doesn't seem ready to push you forward to the next level, it may be because she just doesn't have total confidence in your skills yet, and your target position involves serious stakes and real responsibility. If you mess up, she gets burned. So she's hesitant to move you forward until she can be absolutely sure that you won't make a single mistake. Of course you can't promise this. But do your best to show off your skills in a time, place, and manner in which she can see them. And find ways to do this without sitting around waiting to being asked.
3. Ask One, Then Twice, Then Turn Your Focus Outward
If you want to move up to the next level, you may just have to move out. Which is to say, you may need to reroute your path around this person and seek opportunities with another company and another employer. If you honestly fear that your boss will give you a negative recommendation in order to keep you, don't let this hold you back—you're under no obligation to list him as a reference, and your career path is your own to control.
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