Being Pushed To The Back Of The Line

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about change of boss and change of status:

I started as a temporary trainer along with 10 other others at a new branch of a well established company. We all got along wonderfully and the environment was fun and productive. Our boss had a great sense of humor and I hit it off well with him. He talked specifically to me about becoming full-time and even went as far as indicating he wanted me for a coveted program director job. I even became an official mentor to new trainers (albeit still a temp).

Then one day we arrived to work and discovered he had quit. We pressed on, nearly leaderless. I fell into the “go-to” roll because of my knowledge and experience. Now we have a new female manager. Where once I was in the loop and also a “sure” bet for a full-time position…now I feel on the outs. The director position was given to someone else and I was not invited to interview for it. It was given to another temp who seems to be a carbon copy of the new manager. I’ve been friendly, helpful, on time, and performed my job.

I haven’t expressed any dissatisfaction. I realize at this point that my old manager’s promises amount to nothing. I’ve expressed interest to my new manager in full-time work and have not mentioned my old manger’s offers to me. I am frustrated watching co-workers pass me by, and also being seemingly pushed to the back of the line. I’m very sad as everything seemed to start on such a high note. Should I keep hoping/working for a full-time job or follow my gut instincts and move on?

Signed, Frustrated and Sad

Dear Frustrated and Sad:

I can understand your feeling of loss as things have changed around you. Let me offer some thoughts that might be helpful.

1. If you like the company and your coworkers and the salary is acceptable for now, you may want to consider staying and trying some different approaches to dealing with your concerns. Just as your one manager left, so might this one. In such companies, things can change rapidly–which you certainly know better than I do!

2. Among the things you may want to do: Communicate more directly with your manager about what you can contribute. Sometimes we’re good about telling people what position we’d like in the business, but not so good at telling them what we could offer the company if we get that position.Your new manager may have been told to turn things around or make changes or deliver more product or whatever. So, her career is the one she’s focused on right now. If you can help her be more successful you may gain her appreciation and support.

3. A close relationship with a former manager can sometimes work against you when a new manager comes in. They often want people who are loyal to them and often ensure that by promoting a cadre of supporters. If your manager left suddenly there may have been internal reasons and those who were linked with him may be viewed as being like him and therefore part of the old way of doing things.

4. You say you were the go-to person when your group was without a manager. Those relationships are likely still there or should be. Consider, if you stay, focusing on developing even more influence and a strong informal team. You have your own work to do, but perhaps you can reach out purposely to get back into a position of relevance and importance.It seems as though you have not wanted to seem to push about your work there and it could be you have not seemed to care. I don’t advocate becoming a pest, but maybe you will benefit from demonstrating to your new manager what you have to offer. She may have no idea about your history and may simply view you as one of a bunch of people. You may need to let her see as a stand out from the group.

5. You may decide you would prefer to move on rather than trying to regain some of your enjoyment and feelings of inclusion there. You know your situation best and that may be the best for you. However, I think there are some options between what is now happening and leaving.

If you are as strong a contributor as you feel you are, I’ll bet they do not want you to go. Perhaps that can also help you if you let others know of the things you would like to contribute if your job was enlarged or enriched in some way.Best wishes to you as you work through this challenging time. The confidence and strength you need to be effective as a trainer will undoubtedly benefit you now.If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what you decide and how things develop.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.