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Eager to Advance

Q. My boss is “comfortable.” She has been in her position for years and doesn’t seem eager to move up.

I am very eager. I know that it is considered bad practice to go over your boss’ head but she is not helping me grow in the company.

How do I bypass her without appearing disloyal?

Dear Eager,

If your boss has been there for years, then it is likely that she has many loyal higher ups who will protect her position and seniority. More importantly, they will respect her opinion of you and your performance.

So, given that potential environmental overlay, it could be very dangerous for you to go over her head and seek a more senior post or set of duties. I would suggest, as a first effort, that you ask your boss for a written evaluation and a chance to set your goals on a three monthly cycle.

Tell her that you are eager to progress and improve in your job performance and want input quarterly. Without saying it, you are making it clear that you want to and will do all it takes to excel; it means she has to help you or get out of the way.

By asking her to make the effort to help you, you are giving her a chance to be a mentor rather than a menace. I would make the request verbally and confirm it in writing.

If your boss does not then step up to the plate, she can’t complain if you take the same request higher up later.

For instance, if she does not assist you with the evaluation and goal setting exercise, you could hand that same written request to another superior in the business and say something like: “My boss is so busy that she really hasn’t had a chance to help me with regular inputting on my performance and career goals. I would be so grateful if you could mentor me as I really would like to improve and grow in my job.”

This then has the effect of not only making it clear that you went to your boss first for help and respected that political rule, but also that you are simply saying she is too pressed to help you, not that she is too comfortable to want to do so!

I do hope that helps. Keep me posted!


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