Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, your boss never notices? You could work 100 hours, complete everything imaginable, and they’ll still be oblivious to it. I’ve been there, this has actually happened to me lots of times, and for different reasons. I’m going to going to go through the 5 sure ways you can tell that your boss isn’t appreciating you and you should probably find a different team.
#1 Your Boss never gives you any credit
Your boss continually depends on you to do all the tough tasks. However, when it comes time to tell upper management or other teams about it, “the team did it”. Every time they could help your career by making you look better, they go out of their way to make sure you don’t get any credit.
Why does this happen over and over? I’ve found that it’s usually because your boss is insecure or threatened by you more than anything else. How can you tell for sure? Well if they recognize individual contributions of other people on your team to upper management but not you, that means that they’ve never going to help you get promoted until they absolutely have to OR they can promote you into a position where you know longer are a threat.
What should you do? Hard to say for sure. A lot of these bosses are actually pretty nice individuals and may be good to work for. However, if making career advancements are important to you, you’d better switch jobs as soon as you can as they’re never going to help you unless it’s in their best interests.
I personally stayed in a position too long because I really liked my boss as a person but was really frustrated by the lack of advancement. It took me a long time to realize that he was stealing credit from me to make himself look better and had been doing it for years. Which leads to #2…
#2 Your Boss is a Credit Stealer
Does your boss often come to you, looking for ideas? And then later when talking to upper management pass those ideas off as his own? Then your boss is a credit stealer. Basically, they’re using you to get ahead and make themselves look better.
Now it’s obvious when they do it right in front of you, but some of them do it behind your back when it’s less obvious. When that happens, it’s going to be harder to tell. Generally, you don’t find out about things like this unless you get some 1 on 1 time with an upper manager at some point. That’s when you can gently probe them for information on whether your boss is telling them about you or not.
How do you handle a credit stealer? Unfortunately, from a lower position your best bet is to stop telling your boss your ideas and find new ways to communicate with upper management. The problem is, it’s likely not going to do you any good because there’s a very high probability that they like your boss more than you (as that’s how he got to be your boss in the first place most likely). And any evidence which makes their decision look poor they’ll probably ignore unfortunately.
One of my bosses was a credit stealer. Generally it would go “So and so from upper management is really concerned about this issue, do you have a solution?” I’d think about it and then give them a really good solution. My boss would listen and then take me with him over to the upper management office. There he would tell the other person my idea as if it were his own, not letting me getting any words in at all. The upper management person would then get the impression that my manager was really smart and that I was dunce, lol.
#3 Your boss has no idea you work late hours
Work until midnight, come in early, work weekends, no matter what you do, you boss has no clue. All the signs are there, late emails at night, reports getting done at late hours, work magically getting done before deadlines, but they never seem to notice at all.
In fact when it comes to end of the year review time, they speak as if they have no idea what you’re doing. It’s as if they’ve been gone the entire year and only got a broad overview of what you did. Instead of details you did on a project, your feedback might be “You completed X project on time, good job” without mentioning any details.
These are the best and worst bosses to work for, depending on your point of view. From a hard working point of view, these are the worst bosses to get ahead with. They don’t know what is going on, don’t care either, they’re too wrapped up with whatever else is going on.
From a lazy employee point of view, these bosses are the best. You can do basically anything and they won’t notice as long as you don’t make it too obvious. As long as you get something done, you’ll likely get the same raise that you would if you worked really hard.
#4 Your boss never tries to get you promotions
It doesn’t matter what you do, your boss refuses to do anything that might upset the status quo. Basically, they only care about themselves and not their team. This happens a lot in the corporate world, in fact this might be the most common issue. I actually have never really understood this, when I was in management I did everything in my power to get my staff promoted. I think this is extremely rare though, most managers don’t really think about it at all unless HR tells them about it or the employee themselves keep asking about it.
Is it possible to still get promoted even if they seem completely out to lunch about it? Well, it depends. If they take action on your promotion concerns, they just may be one of those bosses who is busy and just doesn’t think about the staff that much other than assigning work. They may have good intentions, just their priorities are never focused on promotions. This kind of boss might be ok as long as there is some evidence of them being able to get some promotions through.
Now if your boss is the other kind who makes excuses about why they can’t promote you all the time, then that’s probably not going to work out. If your boss is making excuses, it’s because they don’t really want to promote you for whatever reason. That rarely changes either, they’ll just keep on coming up with more excuses. You know, you need more experience, you need more time in the position, there aren’t enough funds available for promotions, etc. Now sometimes part of those things may be true, but if you see other people from other teams or departments doing things that your boss says are impossible, then forget it, they’re never going to help you because they obviously they don’t want to.
#5 Your boss asks you to do all the hard stuff, but never rewards you for it.
All the hard things that come up at work? Yeah, they’re on your plate. Always. Over and over again you take on the hardest problems with little gratitude or acknowledgement. It’s ok you think, eventually I’ll get a reward at the end of the year. That time comes though, and although they acknowledged how much stuff you did, there was no compensation or reward to go with it.
So you think, it’s ok, next year will be different. Same thing, you’re the highest performer on the team taking on all the toughest jobs, and the reward is nothing.
This will continue on indefinitely if you let it. Companies and bosses will often ride their top performer as much as they can to help their company. And ironically, while your performance isn’t helping you get a reward or promotion, it may be helping your boss get a reward or promotion. Yeah, isn’t that a bitter pill, watching people move up the chain while you’re still on the bottom of the pyramid.
If you’re not getting rewarded for being a top performer and that’s important to you, you’re probably best off finding a different position. I have rarely seen a top performer who isn’t getting rewarded with his current team suddenly start getting rewarded, in fact I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that. I guess it’s that usual “people never change” thing.
Hopefully this post will help you think about your current job and make some decisions. It’s tough when you like your job but aren’t going anywhere career-wise, do you stay and hope for a miracle or leave and possibly get a job you don’t like as well. None of the decisions are easy, you just have to pick up on the clues before you waste too much time in your career at a dead end.