A close friend recently landed the job of her dreams, working for an amazing company that many only hope to get hired at. Once the celebrations ceased and the job actually began, however, she worried that the opportunity wasn't living up to her hopes or expectations — especially once she realized her boss was often MIA (both in the office physically, as well as in the role of a career mentor).
She feared that without proper support and guidance from her boss, she would fail — and felt it already affecting her stress levels and workplace productivity. Together, we mapped out an action plan to save her from the Sunday scaries and to set her back on her path to world, er, career domination.
If you're facing the same fears and worry how an unsupportive boss will affect your performance, read on for your immediate to-do list and tips:
1. Communicate with your manager.
If your boss hasn't already set up regular meetings or check-ins, then be proactive and ask to do so. Establish a regular meeting time, and if she or he cancels, be diligent about rescheduling. If your boss is out of the office often, ask to have a Skype meeting or phone call to touch base. Communication is essential in forming a relationship with your manager and will equip you to do your job better.
2. Be prepared and punctual.
Always be organized and ready for the meetings; send an agenda ahead of time if possible. Your boss will appreciate this even more if they are not in the office and in a time-crunch.
3. Establish what the priorities are of the company/your department/your boss.
Simply knowing the end goal is a simple but sometimes overlooked part of the puzzle. What would make your boss's life easier right now, and how do you fit into that equation? What are her expectations of you? Ask lots of questions early on, and request feedback specifically where you desire it - whether it's about tasks you've completed, or if you wonder what her preferred method of communication is.
4. Be clear on your own expectations/needs.
Just because you're focusing on your boss's needs doesn't mean you should neglect your own. Speak to your boss about your needs to do your job and do it well; if you feel there are elements or resources lacking in certain areas, use your voice - but offer a suggested solution as well.
5. Ask your coworkers for advice.
Take some time each morning to get to know your coworkers better - they are often valuable sources of knowledge and experience that can help guide you in how to work best with your new boss.
6. Find a mentor — elsewhere.
Ideally, it would be great if all bosses were built-in career mentors, but that is not always the case. If your boss is not stepping into that role, look for mentors elsewhere - whether in other departments in your company, or through networking
groups for professionals.
7. Take responsibility for your own career success.
The worst thing any ambitious professional can do is to sit back and wait for things to be handed to them. Whatever you want - whether it's more guidance in your day-to-day, a promotion, ANYTHING - you need to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
Starting any new job can sometimes be a time of uncertainty, and growing pains can occur when you're identifying how best to work with your boss and coworkers. Establishing a process for yourself is a crucial step in obtaining workplace contentment.
Karen Schneider works for bareMinerals in Global Packaging + Creative Services and has worked in a variety of industries over the span of her career, including digital media, fashion & apparel, and wine & spirits. She is currently a contributor to The Muse and Career Contessa and has been featured on Business Insider and Harvard Business Review for her career advice. She's obsessed with learning, life, and career/self-improvement.