Being My Own Boss...Kind of...
October 22, 2008 6:34 PM   Subscribe

In a tumultuous work environment, how can I work to be my own best boss, and position myself to be promoted down the line with no one "batting" for me?

My work environment--like many work environments--has essentially been in a constant state of flux for the past 9 months or so. My boss of more than a year (who I loved) left the company. I applied for her job, but did not get it; a new boss was hired shortly thereafter, was great, but then suddenly left the company after only 3-4 months on the job. This was also frustrating because I felt as though I was just getting to know the new boss and they were just getting to know me, my work strengths, etc.

So now I am essentially the interim "senior person" or at least the one who answers all of the questions of the temp worker and PC that make up the rest of the team. (There is one additional senior member of our team, but she works remotely, and so by default many questions come to me because I'm in the office and am a warm body.)

Aside from feeling pretty overwhelmed by all of the change and the heavy workload, I also am worried that I'm stuck in this limbo-land area where my career in general may stall because I don't really have a boss looking out for professional development. I know I need to carve my own path in life--what are some tips/experiences that you all have had in this type of situation?
posted by Ham_On_Rye to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is actually your big chance! BE THE PROMOTION. Once they start talking about hiring another candidate you can bring up how well you've been doing that job already. Naturally between now and then you won't be able to do 100% of the job since there will be meetings you're not invited to, more constraints in general, etc., but you know what needs to be done, especially since you have recent experience breaking in someone who did that job. Seriously, rise to the occasion!
posted by rhizome at 6:45 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, I'd do my damnedest to make the best of it - are you in a position to help the others on the team with professional development? Streamline processes and save on costs? Increase profits? Do a better job than your boss and the person who replaced her? If so, I'd recommend stepping your usual performance up a notch basically acting as though you ARE the boss, and do really well at it - forget what your official title or position is.

The upside there will be that (1) you're already demonstrating initiative, and showing that you don't necessarily need someone to hold your hand every step of the way and (2) you're capable of being the boss, should you want to be the official boss someday (and thus can move forward accordingly).

Oh, and document all your successes so you can make your case for advancement later, either with people at your own company or when interviewing elsewhere.

BTW, why did the new boss leave so quickly?
posted by universal_qlc at 6:50 PM on October 22, 2008

Yes, document all your successes. Also, if you have a development plan or some type of concrete goals documented, work as hard as you can to achieve those goals so at the end of the period you can say "this document shows I was to complete X, Y, and Z, and as you can clearly see, I fucking rule." If you can't achieve those goals, now would be the best time to revise that document.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:54 PM on October 22, 2008

Don't just document your successes and your progress (not all problems get solved overnight), but BROADCAST THEM AS THEY HAPPEN. Send out status reports. You need to toot your own horn. I am notorious for doing great things but then not telling people that I did them, until the end of the year when no one remembers why they were important or great. I've gotten better about it but don't make that mistake.
posted by micawber at 8:49 AM on October 23, 2008

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