Our parents (and teachers) lied to us. There, I said it out loud.
“If you just get your head down and do a good job, you’ll have a job for life”.
That might once have been true, but we all know the job market has moved on a lot since then but that voice in our head somehow sticks and we believe it to be true.
The women I work with often come to me frustrated, feeling under valued and close to burning out under the strain of all that “getting their head down” and doing a good job.
Here’s the reality
Doing your job really well will pay off early in your career, when people are monitoring you a bit more closely. They will recognise that talent and reward you with (you guessed it!) more work and more responsibility.
But after a period of time you start to notice the less experienced (and frankly less skilled) team members being promoted ahead of you or your colleagues being given the exciting projects you wanted.
This can result in you feeling:
- Frustrated, especially when that less experienced person starts throwing their weight around
- Resentful at those around you at work, who pull on you but never give you credit
- Invisible and like your voice doesn’t matter (what’s the bloody point?!)
This can be soul destroying and will eventually take you from coasting in a job that isn’t that rewarding to feeling like you just need to get the hell out before you lose your sh*t with someone (insert colleague or family member, as its started spilling into work).
You’ve become invisible and none of us (even the introverts!) want to feel like they don’t matter.
You need to get more visible
Uncomfortable as it may be for you, the reality is – to get recognition and to feel more valued at work – you need to be visible. But how? I am going to share some tips below on how to get more visible and ultimately more influential without feeling like you’re selling your soul:
1. Speak up more in meetings – this is the number one way to get yourself visible. It’s important that you get your voice heard and contribute in meetings. If you’re not, what’s the point in you being there anyway? If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, make sure you are well prepared before the meeting with some ideas of what you could contribute, no matter how small. Even making sure you are on a call / in the room early enough to contribute to the ‘small talk’ at the beginning of a meeting can help you to build rapport with your colleagues and show them your human side.
2. Grow your circle of influence – if you find yourself siloed in your department or even within your company, then its time to broaden your network. It’s a great way to increase your overall awareness of the company or industry and it has the bonus of increasing your visibility. You can do this through formal networking events but if that fills you with dread, there are other ways! Listen to this podcast episode for more tips on building your influence.
3. Strengthen your relationship with your boss – your relationship with your line manager really matters. They often hold the key to unlocking your visibility in an organisation so its important that they like and trust you. It is also important that they understand what you do and what you are achieving. In 1:1 meetings, when they ask you how a certain project is going, it can be tempted to just say “it’s all under control” but that really down plays what you have had to do to keep things under control. So make sure you expand with statements like “well, I averted an issue last week by doing X and now it is under control” – by making it clear the project is smooth sailing because of your actions is a much more powerful message than “it’s fine”. This is how you get the recognition you deserve. Don’t assume your boss will appreciate all the work going on behind the scenes.
4. Start getting rid of non-promotable tasks – all tasks get you promoted, right? Wrong! All the extra admin, meeting organising, lunch making, <insert task that’s essential but nobody notices> that you’re doing is taking away time that you could be working on that high profile project, working on your personal development or attending that meeting with the CEO. In the book “The No Club” they call these “non promotable tasks”. Once you take notice of how much time you’re spending on these, it’ll start to become clear why you’re not getting recognition. So, the next bit is learning to push back, say no and get other people to pull their weight. (I can help with that!)
By doing some or all of these things, you can go from being “the good, solid, reliable one” who just gets her head down and gets on with the job – to feeling properly valued and getting the recognition and career fulfilment you truly deserve.
It can be hard to do this stuff alone, if you need a helping hand, I can help with my course launching on Monday 23rd January “Invisible to Valued” – you can read more about it and sign up here.