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I was hired by my present company more than two years ago.  Because I’m hard-working, technically competent and I always get all my tasks done before the deadlines set, my boss praises me no end.  The problem is he keeps giving me additional responsibilities which are not within my job description, yet, I don’t get performance bonus or merit increase.  I don’t know if my boss will recommend me for promotion.  Sometimes I feel I’m being “punished” for being efficient and am tempted to slow down especially since my fellow employees think I want to be the “bida”.  I don’t know what to do; this is why I’m writing you for advice.

Mr. Distraught

 

You are disappointed that, for all your efficiency, you are not getting any performance bonus nor merit increase.  You are not also told of your promotability.  On top of this, your co-employees ridicule you for wanting to play hero.  You don’t seem to appreciate the positive feedback your boss gives you and don’t see that being given additional responsibilities is a sign of recognition.

What is your career goal, i.e., what do you want to be in, say, five years?  You talk about promotion in your company.  What position in your company do you see yourself occupying in five years’ time?  Will this position involve doing work that is of interest to you, will use your skills and talents, and enable you to bring out and develop your potentials?  Getting a higher pay is one of the consequences of promotion to a higher position; performance bonus and/or merit increase are rewards for exceeding performance targets, and don’t require promotion.

Your boss is not punishing you by giving you additional tasks.  He is testing your abilities if you are ready for promotion to a higher position.  He can not tell you that he will be recommending you for a higher position because it might raise certain expectations that may not be fulfilled.  Being given more responsibilities is a sign that he is recognizing your abilities to do more.  Remember the parable of Jesus regarding three servants entrusted by their master    with   the latter’s possessions, the amount given depended on their  abilities  (Matthew  25:14-30).  When the master returned after a long journey, he called his three servants to give an accounting of the talents entrusted to each of them.  Two servants who were entrusted with five and two talents, respectively, traded them so they doubled the talents given them.  The master did two things: he commended them and gave them more responsibilities.  The third servant, who had been given only one talent, hid it because he was afraid that his master, whom he perceived to be a demanding person, harvesting where he did not scatter, would berate him.  That was exactly what the master did: not only did the master scold and punish him; he had the one talent taken away from him and given to the servant who had 10 talents.  Jesus concluded the parable by saying:  “For everyone who has, more will be given; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

I hope you will change your mindset that being given additional tasks is a “punishment”; rather see it as a sign of recognition and your boss’ way of determining how much and how far you can go.  He is also observing your attitudes towards being given additional responsibilities.  Do you accept these additional responsibilities cheerfully, or do you whine and complain which you seem to be doing now.

Since your boss obviously likes you, I suggest you go to him/her and ask about your chances for promotion and by when.  Let me tell you that most companies have two kinds of career paths: the management path and the professional/technical path.   The management path is for those with leadership abilities and potentials.  As they advance in their career, they are given greater and more responsibilities with people under them whom they develop so that the tasks they accomplish contribute to the achievement of goals and objectives.  As they get up the corporate ladder, these managers perform less and less of the technical tasks they had enjoyed doing as they focus on the “bigger picture” by achieving strategic goals and objectives.

The professional/technical path is for those who are very competent in doing the tasks related to a certain function (e.g., finance, marketing and sales, IT, production, quality assurance, etc.) but do not have the abilities to lead people.  They rise in their profession thru increasing levels and complexities of competencies.

Unfortunately, those companies, which do not have a dual career path, give recognition to the technically competent people by putting them in the management path, thereby promoting them to a level of incompetence.  These managers have poor people skills.  They either avoid interacting with their employees, as they enjoy doing the work of their subordinates.  Or they are abrasive in the way they deal or aggressive in the way they communicate with their employees.  So I advice you to determine, perhaps with your boss’ coaching, if you are inclined to a management or to a professional/career path.  Ask him/her advice on what you need to do to be in the right path.

As for your co-employees’ ridicule of you, perceiving you as wanting to be “bida”, I suggest you just ignore it.  Be kind to them and help them if they need your help.  In time, they will change their mindset towards you.  Who knows, you might be their boss in the future if the management path is for you.

God bless,

 

Josie Santamaria

I’m 45 years old and have been a department head in our company for the past four years.  I have had a total of three promotions before I rose to my current position.

For the past two months, my relationship with my boss has been strained.  It began only with my using of cellphone during our meeting – a no-no to our boss – and when he asked me something, I could not answer him because I was not paying attention to the discussion.  I apologized to him and promised I would not do it ever again.  But since then, he has changed his attitudes and behavior towards me.  He ignores me completely.  Once, he openly criticized me by faulting the data that I presented when I made a report on a project.  He insisted that my data were not valid.  This greatly embarrassed me in front of my peers.  I got my data from my trusted employee and did not bother to test their accuracy.

Last week, he went directly to one of my subordinates and gave him a project to do and instructed him to submit the report directly to him.  This going over my head again greatly embarrassed me.

The latest hostile action I was subjected to was my not being told by his secretary of a meeting my boss had with my peers.  I felt very embarrassed when I learned I was the only one absent.  When I asked his secretary why I wasn’t told, she just shrugged her shoulders and said nothing.

What do all of these mean?  Am I on the way out?  Does he want me to resign?  I love my company where I have been employed for 12 years now.  My boss is a new hire from the outside and has been with our company for only two years.  We had been told by HR that not one of the senior managers, and this included me, was qualified for the position for which he had been hired.  It’s hard for me to work in another company and get the same position, salary and benefits that I’ve been enjoying.

I don’t know what to do.  How can I work with him when his dislike for me is so obvious?  Please help me.

Mr. Confused

You want to remain in your current position and in your company but you are in a dilemma as to how to relate with your boss after the incidents you cited which made you feel humiliated and lose face with your peers and subordinates.  Obviously your boss did not accept your apology about the cellphone incident.  You did not mention how often you had done this in the past.

What options are there for you?

One, tolerate the present situation and just ignore the actions of your boss although your heart is bleeding.

Two, go to the boss of your boss and request a transfer to another department.  You may face the prospect of getting a lower status position.  In addition, I don’t think the boss of your boss will entertain you.  He may refer you back to your boss.

Three, plan your exit.  If you resign voluntarily after serving the company for 12 years, will you get anything?  This is unlikely.  Also, if you plan to exit, you will need to update and refine your resume and send them to recruiting agencies (headhunters) and use other resources to get a job.

Four, talk with your boss.  This, to me, is the only option for you to remain in the company and to hold on to your current position, which is what you want.  Ask for forgiveness about the cellphone incident and for other incidents that he had been displeased with you about.  And then express your embarrassment/feelings of humiliation when he behaved the way you described them in the situations you cited.
I suggest you write down your script, and memorize it so as to have self-confidence in delivering it.  Your script may go like this:
“Sir, I’m truly sorry and ask your forgiveness for using my cellphone during our meeting on .  As a result, I was not paying attention to the discussion and could not answer the question you asked me.  I offer no explanation for this rude behavior which I assure you will not happen ever again…(pause) Please forgive me, Sir …(pause)  I deserve your criticism of the data I presented during our meeting on                    .  I did not check the accuracy of the data since I trusted                       (name of your employee)… although I felt embarrassed that you did this in front of my peers… (pause)…  When you assigned (name of another employee) a project and you told him to submit the report directly to you, I felt hurt…(pause)… Also, I felt hurt when I was not told about your meeting on which was attended by my peers but about which I knew nothing about…(pause)… I accept all these, Sir, because I suppose you did them as a result of my shortcomings…”

Perhaps you can request his boss to act as a mediator in your meeting if you find it difficult to set this meeting yourself.

You did not mention in your e-mail if you are a performer and if you meet your targets.  If you are, then chances are your value to the organization will make you retainable.

I suggest that you exert efforts to reestablish your positive relationship with your boss.  Live up to his expectations of a department head.  Know his soft spots (i.e., what touches the heart) and his sore spots (i.e., what he dislikes or what irritates him).  He is your No.1 Customer.  Satisfying his work expectations and requirements, in addition to and observing the norms and values of your company, are a must for senior managers like yourself who are expected to be positive role models.

God bless,

 

Josie Santamaria