I’ve been at my job for a few years and I have had 3 managers in that time. My current manager is unsupportive and never backs me up when my work is challenged. When I spoke to her about my career path she said I need to tell her where I want to go—she doesn’t have any suggestions. I’m not sure if I should stay or go. Help! A.M., New York, NY
Thinking about your manager’s deficits takes your attention off your own career and it’s not your problem to solve. Redirect your focus to your career objective because she’s correct, your career is your responsibility.
Take your experience with your managers out of the equation and think about whether you want to continue to work at your company. Why did you take your job in the first place? Have you achieved that objective? What interests you and makes you want to learn more? Is there anything you want to contribute or explore further in this company? What skills do you need to develop to get where you want to go?
Try to keep an objective perspective when you’re thinking about your current employer. For instance, assuming there haven’t been major business challenges in your company, it is unusual to have three managers in two years. However, if the other two managers were incompetent, your company may have done the right thing in bringing in a new person. It’s a data point to consider when evaluating the health of your company, but not necessarily an indictment of their management.
Spend some time figuring out how you can behave differently when your manager is unsupportive. Use her example to help you develop your management skills. It’s tempting to want to “fix” her but trying to do so can easily backfire and create unnecessary drama, which will drain your energy even more.
Your situation is not uncommon but it’s totally solvable and gives you a prime opportunity to keep yourself on track. Good luck!
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