When you’re working from home, it can feel like you’re unmoored, invisible, alone — and that no one is noticing all the hard work you’re doing.
But during this extraordinary and uncertain time, it’s more important than ever to maintain a good relationship with your boss and make your accomplishments known.
Even before the pandemic, this sort of self-promotion (and boasting) has often been easier for men, who (generally) have no problem rattling off all the work they’re doing and making sure their bosses remember it. Women, on the other hand, tend to refrain from talking about their strengths and accomplishments. Many times, they just assume their bosses will notice the extra work, the extra hours that they are putting in and will eventually be rewarded for it. Don’t count on it. Your work may well be invisible unless you are willing to talk about it.
As I wrote earlier this week, now is not the best time to ask for a raise or promotion, but you do need to make sure you’re comfortable talking about yourself and making your accomplishments known.
So how do you do this without being a thorn in your boss’s side?
First, write down your duties and what you’ve been accomplishing – all the projects you have been working on, the tasks you completed, etc. Find a rhythm with your manager – I suggest either bi-weekly or monthly – to send a memo detailing all of this. You want to show them you are in the game and you are invaluable.
And know that each boss’s response may be different. Some may engage with you every day. Some may offer advice, others may just say “thanks,” while others will offer no response. That’s OK. You’ll still have a record of all those emails and accomplishments, and you’ll easily be able to pull them up months from now, or even in a year, when you’re having important conversations about your performance and potential raises and promotions are on the line.
Also know that connecting with your boss is more than just talking about your own accomplishments. It can be hard to truly connect with him or her on this front during this pandemic. Maybe you ask for new ways you can assist during this difficult time. Maybe you don’t hear from your boss at all. This is daunting, but it’s the reality of this moment.
Many managers are not connecting for a lot of reasons. Some are dealing with the fact that they are having to regroup on everything. They’re figuring out which resources are vital and which are not. And yes, people are getting laid off. Given this backdrop, bosses will sometimes hole themselves up, because they don’t want to make false promises and, like you, they don’t know what the future holds. But keep those emails coming, and keep track of your accomplishments. Find ways to grow your value or volume of work during this uncertain moment.
Make sure you make reasons to share good team news, and if you have an idea for a new project that will enhance the organization, don’t be afraid to pitch it. And lastly, even if you have a boss that seems distant, show your appreciation. Try and understand how he or she might also be struggling during this difficult time and thank them (if it’s warranted) for making our new normal a bit more normal.
I know this is a sobering message. Part of knowing your value is knowing the landscape. We are in trying times, and your message and tone show an understanding of the challenges ahead. Executing this approach will effectively will grow your value, even in a pandemic.