Promoting yourself at work was never easy, even when you were actually at work.
Still, you could always arrange to "bump into" an important manager at the snack machine, prompting a fun conversation about how much weight "Chubby" had put on since you last saw him.
Or, arriving at the parking lot, you could ding the door of the Tesla S of a high-flying VP, allowing you to raise your visibility and, at the same time, demonstrate your sense of responsibility by showing up at the VP's office to confess.
These not-quite random, real-world meetings gave you the opportunity to remind upper management that you exist (and, hopefully, have good insurance).
When you're working from home, these tried-and-true methods to promote yourself are unavailable. But Caroline Ceniza-Levine is. Recently, Ceniza-Levine published "How to Promote Your Career When You Work from Home" on Forbes. It's a timely and helpful compendium of strategies for how the homebound striver can "proactively get and stay top-of-mind with the decision-makers and influencers of promotion decisions."
A dollop of proactivity on your part may be necessary here because, as the author points out, "your manager may not know how to manage remotely." This is probably the case, since your manager does not know how to manage when you're together in the same room.
And that's why, for me, some of the strategies do not go far enough.
Admittedly, "check in frequently" is a proven technique for raising your visibility. The question is, how frequent is "frequent"? I recommend you check in before the start of every Zoom meeting to show you are detail-oriented and have no idea how to tell time. Check in at the end of every Zoom meeting to show you are detail-oriented and have no idea how to take notes.
Bottom line: Your boss may think you are a seriously annoying nutcase, but you will be noticed — and, if you consider the management team at your company, promptly promoted.
"Report your results" is another smart strategy. Unfortunately, in order to report results, you need to have results, which you don't. Should you let this stop you? No way!
As our author suggests, start by asking your manager "what format and frequency they would prefer" when it comes to receiving reports. Then, at the proper interval and using the requested format, send a report confirming your understanding of how your manager wants a report. Assuming you get a positive response, your next report can report on that report, reaffirming that their report on your report is how frequently you will report on reports in the future. And so on.
Can you continue this rigmarole forever? Probably not. But after a few months, your manager will surely promote you, just to get you to stop.
You are also advised to "align with company priorities — which may have changed." The goal here is to "stay busy where the need is greatest and hopefully where senior leaders are watching closely."
I like this strategy, except for the "hopefully" part. If you are actually going to do some work, don't "hope" it will be noticed; make sure. In this endeavor, your best friend is "reply all." No matter what nonsense you are emailing, send it to everyone in the company.
Whether you have bogus statistics to share or a feverish marketing brainstorm to promote, reply all. Even if you are using precious company server capacity to recommend that hot new reality show, "Naked & Married & Allergic," to your bud in IT, reply all.
Certainly, your myopic managers won't be pleased, but who is to say that the CEO won't be charmed and grateful? After all, who among us hasn't been naked and married and allergic?
"Stay upbeat" and "exude confidence" are good strategies for demonstrating what Ceniza-Levine calls "executive presence."
When your largest customer goes belly up, and the company stock drops by 50%, and your manager informs you that massive layoffs are required, your co-workers will be delighted to learn that, "Today, I saw a robin redbreast announcing to the world with a lilting chirp that spring is in bloom."
Sound risky? I think not. Being oblivious in the face of disaster is a fundamental element of "executive presence."
Whether you will eventually return to working at work or you are fated to continue your career from a corner of the kitchen table, being promoted can make everything better. If you handle it right, right now, the Tesla S that gets dinged will be yours.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay