Have you discovered that another employee, who hasn’t been in the role as long as you, is promoted ahead of you; and not only that, they were on a much higher pay rate when doing the same job as you? Has your manager ever made a last minute change to your leave request; or declined a leave request, even when it’s ‘your turn’ to have Christmas off? Do you feel that it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, or how you apply yourself, you aren’t getting the rewards or recognition you think you deserve? So what is going on, and what can you do?
These situations are more common than you might think – an organisation which condones (or even encourages) this type of behaviour from its managers, is one that sees its employees as expendable. It’s viewed that you are completely replaceable if you decide to leave, so there is little (or no) investment made to ensure that you are a happy employee. Often this is more evident in larger organisations, often in middle management as well as on the shop floor. It’s especially prevalent when there might be ample supply of a particular set of skills or expertise in the market-place. In other words, there are plenty of other prospective employees who could do your role equally as well.
So if this sounds like it might apply to your situation – what can you do? If you are staying in your role because you need the income, then the power in the relationship is vested with the employer. If you haven’t already, think about what steps you can take to make yourself more valuable in your role. This doesn’t mean working longer hours, it means taking a ‘manager’s viewpoint’ on what aspects of your output is most attractive to the organisation and to your manager. This might mean re-prioritising some of your activities to focus more on those which you know your manager values more highly. It also might mean being open to undertaking training or development to sharpen your skills in specific areas.
If these actions don’t change your manager’s behaviour toward you; then perhaps it is time to realise that you are unlikely to change the culture of the organisation, so your focus now changes to becoming less reliant on this employer for your income. This may mean you need to trim your household budget to enable you to build up an emergency fund (equivalent to at least three months of living expenses); so if you are suddenly without an income you have a buffer to support you until a new job can be found.
While you are building your reserves, now is also the time to refresh your CV and to update all your on-line professional networks (e.g. LinkedIn). Although not to make it obvious you’re looking for a new role, but rather to ensure that your skills and expertise might be found by a recruitment officer as they undertake regular searches for potential candidates. If you are approached for an interview, even if the role is not entirely as you might like, the experience is invaluable to hone your interview skills.
Considering your next career move might include thinking about a complete career change. If you have been able to obtain extra training through your employer, consider what other training might make you even more desirable as an employee; e.g. how to become more assertive, how to improve your negotiation skills and/or your communication skills. These are universal skills which will serve you well regardless of the role you undertake; make sure you include your achievements in your refreshed CV and in your on-line professional profiles.
Alongside this also start working on developing your professional network – either directly when going about your usual activities on behalf of your current employer, or indirectly by asking for new contacts via the on-line public professional networks, be strategic in your choice of contact invitation. Research other companies which you might want to work for in the future, find out who are the managers (and HR executives) in those companies and continue to build your professional network. Take a proactive stance in improving your visibility and attractiveness to a potential new employer. In doing so you not only improve your own self-esteem and confidence, the likelihood of being head-hunted improves greatly – you may also find yourself becoming more attractive to your current employer.
However, if after doing all this work and your current employer still doesn’t recognise your increased value – then you are well placed to move on to another role – on your own terms. Good Luck!
If you want some help to consider your career options give me a call!