My Boss Doesn't See My Accomplishments Any More

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

What do I do to raise my profile during this time of isolation? I work in a large team within a big company; there are 45 of us under my boss’ umbrella. There are three team leads, but my boss makes all of the decisions about who gets an increase, promotions, recognition and so on.

He is completely overwhelmed. If I ask him for any time, even after I have worked with the team leader to address something, he will give me five minutes at most. I am doing more than I ever have and am learning a lot on my own time. I am close to obtaining a certification he had asked me to get a couple of years ago. When I told him I am “close,” he said, “Good – that’s what this down time for you at home can do.” I thought that was a slap in the face. I am also working very long hours and the certification has been my nights and weekend project.

He’s not a bad guy. In fact, when we were in the office, he was always one of those people with a “come in anytime” attitude and he honored it. I know his wife has been sick and he has three youngish kids who have started a new private school this year. He often seems distracted and not focusing. I have empathy for his situation, but I care about my career. I’m not shy about bringing things up. But I realize if I do it when he isn’t open to it, then I look like the insensitive jerk.


Dear S.N.,

You are not alone. I am hearing this question over and over when I speak to large groups and people who are working in larger institutions where they can’t meet in person and show clearly what they are doing to contribute. Interrupting someone’s day via phone or email seems less appealing and less productive, so many are hesitant to do it. Add in your sensitivity that your boss might have his own issues and distractions, and you don’t want to be a lightning rod for him. I can definitely see your reluctance to be pushier than you have been.