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Does My Manager Believe In Me?

May 26th, 2010

These are among the most important words in advancing your career path.  The most important ones are, “Do I believe in me?” certainly, but when you’re setting your goals, look at the roadblocks, too:  Do you need more education/training/experience?  Is your organization recovering from a difficult year, too few staff, a scandal, etc.?

These roadblocks take time, but can often be overcome; however, a manager who isn’t invested in your career is typically a lost cause.  They can vary from outright abusive to simply neglectful, but in both cases, the message is clear: you aren’t worth investing in.  This goes from basic mentoring (“Here’s how I handled a similar situation . . .”), to budgeting for training, memberships in professional associations or simply encouraging/permitting you to network with others in your profession.

*Fred thought that the reason his manager didn’t purchase him a membership in his professional association was due to budget reasons.  The other two in the department had memberships paid by the organization, but they were hired first, and the fiscal year had already begun when he arrived.  His co-worker seemed to be learning from the training sessions and networking offered, so he applied to get a membership on scholarship and was pleased to learn that it was awarded to him!

When he proudly told his manager at the next staff meeting that the whole department now belonged to the association and they could all avail themselves of the training, he expected some positive recognition of his initiative.  He was shocked at the response he received instead.  Fred’s manager explained (in front of the other staff member) that the organization would invest in professional development, but Fred was still support staff, and this didn’t warrant spending any of the department time or budget on sending him to those types of events.  He then went on to further explain some details that distinguished the manager and other staff member as professionals.

Although this was a hurtful moment for Fred, it clarified where he stood so that he could make a decision about his career path.  We started looking for his next job – strategically – so that the next employer would understand that Fred had career goals in mind, beyond tasks that simply needed completion by his employer that day, week or month.

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Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
— Rita Mae Brown

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