Recently I have received some email questions that are similar to those that individuals ask me during conferences or workshops. I thought I would share them as they seem to have a universal theme.
Question: My boss is a micromanager, she is driving me crazy and is hindering me from getting work done. She doesn’t fully understand the work that I do and gives direction that is incorrect. This is a disaster waiting to happen; how do I get her off my back?
Many times in situations such as this, the problem can be fine-tuned down to the communication gap that likely exists between you and her. This street goes both ways, so once you address the communication issue, the other concerns will start to fall in line.
My suggestion is to proactively let her know the main details of what is happening with each important project. There is a reason she is micromanaging and one of them may be that you are not providing her enough information. By proactively providing her with insight into your goings-on, you will quickly know by her reaction and behavior whether it is enough information or not. If she asks for more information and continues to micromanage, then proactively provide more details. You will discover that when she is receiving information without having to ask for it, the micromanaging will dissipate. The key is to provide it before she asks. Any leader will tell you that being kept up to date on projects without having to ask for it is a sign of an exceptional employee. I suggest brief bulletpointed emails with a quick verbal follow-up on the next phone call or in person meeting to take a temperature check on how the information was received.
Question: I just got passed up for a promotion. I’m really angry about it and felt I deserved to get it. What do I do now?
You need to do some investigating and find out what happened. There is a reason you were not promoted and hopefully someone on the hiring team (or your current manager) has the guts to share why you were not promoted. Sometimes they don’t.
You may assume that the individual was not as qualified as you, but were they better connected, were more individuals at the organization aware of his/her accomplishments? A promotion is not always about who is the best qualified candidate.
Question: I’m graduating from college soon and have no idea what I can (or should) do for work. Any suggestions?
As the father of a daughter in college, I have this lecture down pat! So buckle up for this answer. I have a different view of a university or college education. It is the time to experiment and find out what interests you and what areas come naturally to you and you find exciting to study. As you begin to find these niches and passions, then start searching for jobs in this area. But how can a college student do this while working, attending school and having more fun than is deserved?
First, once a week for a half-hour, jump on the job web boards and look at jobs that interest you; look at companies that interest you and see what jobs they offer.
Second, go spend a half-day with someone who works in the profession and get a day “in the life of” experience. If you can’t find one, you might consider working for yourself and starting a business. If this is your route, then try to go work for someone successful in that market segment. You will learn more from that experience in six months than in two years of owning your own business. Such experiences with other successful entrepreneurs can help you avoid pitfalls.
Question: I’m a 50-something-year-old woman whose husband was recently diagnosed with dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s. My husband owned his own business and he can no longer work. We have no savings and very little income right now. What are my options for decent employment at my age?
This is a heartbreaking scenario that is on the rise. An unexpected illness or death leaves an individual needing to return back to the workforce, and they find themselves unprepared and unqualified for higher-paying employment. The first strategy is to find any full-time job that provides health insurance and a steady income at this point. Depending on the skills you have, go for salary positions first, followed by hourly. There are many businesses who are looking for individuals who may be starting careers later in life or are returning to the workforce. Check with your local staffing agency as they can assist you in finding such opportunities
Remember, it is your career!
• A consultant, author, Ph.D., triathlete, father and resident of Gilbert, Dr. CK Bray is a career and organizational development expert who has worked with numerous organizations — ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging startups. He can be reached at ck@DrCKBray.com or find his blog and more at www.DrCKBray.com.