As some of you know, I started my “You Unstuck” course last week. Most of the questions I got during the first call were focused on how the participants could manage their careers more successfully. The two callers who shared were talking about finding their true passion. True Passion. Okay, that's not such an easy one in life. I think that's partly why that image of Superman hidden underneath the everyday business garb of the mild-mannered Clark Kent has become iconic in our culture. I’ve covered this issue on every level as a coach – and often, for the more traditionally employed, the subtext beneath the question is, "Is it worth taking the risk to reach for greatness?" Here's an example:
Dear Libby, My supervisor recently left the company for another job. He was my biggest champion and while I have been working to make a favorable impression on the department head, I've been advised by some outside the company to network a bit to see what other opportunities are out there. How do I do this without others finding out and the gossip mill reaching my department head? Most of my work contacts have a very close relationship with her. ~ FM
Great question. Many people are concerned about corporate repercussions if they're discovered job hunting. But the truth is this: You've got to risk putting the word out if you want to find a new job, even if you're afraid that word might come back and bite you. And even if you had no concerns about your new supervisor, it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for advancement opportunities by continually increasing your professional network. It's also smart to consider some anticipatory damage control too, however, just in case your boss catches wind of your search. So assuming you're not under contract to your employer, let's look at ways you can test the workplace waters without unduly rocking the boat.
Cultivate a relationship with your new boss. Ask him or her to lunch, or whatever works for your workplace, and let them know you'd like to exceed the goals set for you. Even if you're job surfing, this needs to be genuine. After all, you should be meeting your department's goals as long as you're there, and you don't know how long that will be.
Talk to a former boss and get his or her read on the situation. They may be able to offer you inside info about where your company or team is headed. And, of course, ask for a recommendation and referrals.
Make yourself visible to your peers. Circulate among your teammates and build support. Keep your ear to the office grapevine so if change is afoot, you'll hear about it.
If word gets back to the boss, be honest. Let them know you believe in knowing what's happening in your field as well as planning for the future. You don't have to specify if that means three months or three years from now. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Open up a discussion with your supervisor and see where you stand. Even if your organization doesn't have a formal review process, request one. Your boss will respect you for it.
Finally… get ready! Get ready for your move. One thing we can count on in life is that everything is always changing – even when it doesn’t seem to be true. And if you’re like the students in my You Unstuck course, and your career legacy seems to elude you, why not work on the other areas of your life. Sometimes clearing away the chaos in one area can bring another sharply into focus.
Until next time, Libby Gill, Executive Coach and Bestselling Author of “You Unstuck”
PS: You can still register for my You Unstuck Course (which began 2/16) athttp://libbygill.com/coaching-courses. I will be happy to send you the recording of last week and you can join us live for the next two weeks.