Q: I've been in the same job for five years, and I have a good work record. I've done extra assignments, trained for new systems and taken continuing education courses. But I'm still in the same position. The boss spends his time surfing the web, chatting online and handling his personal business. He directly assigns me projects, and everything I do he claims as his own. He's the only one who knows the work I've done.
I like the company; it has great benefits, I make decent money and the company pays for employees to take outside courses to keep us current in our field. My problem is that I've lost my motivation, as I get no credit for anything. I don't know how long I can stay in a job like this. I thought about leaving, but at this point, I don't think I would do well in an interview for a new job.
A: Your boss may be stealing the credit for your work within your company, but you are the one gaining valuable experience to include on your resume. Instead of waiting for your boss to promote you, which he has already shown you he will not, start a job search to see the opportunities available to you. Your company isn't the only one offering good salaries, benefits and company-sponsored training and education.
You're secure in your job, so take this time to create a dynamic resume — not simply a job description, but a marketing tool that features your five years of accomplishments. Your boss obviously values you, even if it's for the wrong reasons — doing no work of his own and taking credit for yours. It's no wonder he doesn't want to promote you. Once you see your accomplishments in a formal resume, you will regain your confidence and motivation needed to conduct a fruitful job search. Always list each project with its outcome, stating how each benefitted the company by saving time and/or money.
Hopefully, you have kept a record of your work assignments that describes each project's scope, details and time constraints — anything that shows the challenges you met successfully. If your boss issues verbal assignments, write detailed descriptions of each one and email it to yourself, maintaining a home file of your assignments, as well.
It sounds like your boss is happy with the status quo of his job, which is why he is not going to be interested in helping you get ahead in the company. This does not mean you should not try on your own for advancement. Many employees find that leaving a company is the quickest way to advance their careers, but you can still advance in your company without taking over your boss' position. Keep watch on openings in your current company and apply through HR. Your boss will not like you leaving your job (you are his meal ticket), but don't let that stop you.
You will have to claim credit for your own work when you interview outside the company, and if a job you want opens within the company, you may need your home file to prove you deserve the credit for the work.
Only you can decide what you're willing to do advance your career. If a peaceful separation is your goal, move on by leaving the company. But the last thing you want to do is to stay and continue covering for your boss. Self-esteem is far too valuable to lose.
Email your workplace issues and experiences to [email protected] For more information about career and life coach Lindsey Novak, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak.