Boss Ignores Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being ignored by the boss: My boss ignores me but gives full attention to my colleague.

I am working as senior engineer in a reputed firm. My boss ignores me but gives full attention to my colleague. Both of us are of the same position but boss give me zero responsibility. It isn’t that I am not capable. I have proven myself in the previous year. Now I am facing the problem of not getting to do what I want to do.

Signed, Overlooked

Dear Overlooked:

Have you talked with your boss about what you want to do?Have you had an evaluation of your performance? You say you proved you were capable, that you proved you were last year. But now you are not assigned to projects that use your skills, and that is related to the feeling you have that your boss ignores you yet focuses on your coworker. (I have reworded your question somewhat, assuming English is not your first language. Therefore if I have not interpreted what you wrote correctly, please let me know. This is to ask if language might be a problem between your boss and you.)

The problem is that you feel you are not being well utilized and progressing in your career. Right? From this distance, it is impossible to know why. Therefore you must bite your tongue and continue to feel you are ignored or you investigate why and how you might further your career as an engineer.Sending this question indicates you no longer want to be ignored.

So put on Sherlock Holmes hat. Begin this investigation quietly taking in all the relevant data:

1. Log what projects you have been assigned. Note the skills used and what was accomplished.

2. Look in the mirror. List the skills you have and need to learn.

3. Speak to engineers outside your current employment about what is going on in your field. Join associations of your particular field of engineering. Read your journals. Attend conferences and workshops. Join Linkedin and sign up for engineering groups. These are ways to develop a professional network.

4. Speak to your boss and or coworkers about engineering. Talk the talk of engineers. Like a sponge soak up what is going on in your company and in the field for which you are trained.

5. Volunteer to team up on projects. Be a cheerleader of others.

6. Focus on the needs and opportunities of your particular company. See ways it might cut wasted supplies, time, energy, and save money. Volunteer for work.

7. Quietly speak with coworkers about how you might be better used. Don’t gossip. Never speak a negative word about your boss or the attention given to your colleague and not to you. Don’t make that an issue. It might be perceived as jealousy.

8. Map out a career plan for yourself for this coming year and the next. Then go to your boss. Ask her/his opinion and suggestions and guidance so that you might be of increasing value to this firm. Don’t wait another year for a formal performance review. Meet with him. Seek his/her advice. That’s the job of a boss. This is a time to frankly share your feelings that you aren’t progressing as you want to. This is time to learn your boss’s plans for you.

This time to show him/her the career you have mapped out for yourself and to ask if it is real or if it should be revised. Do any of these suggestions make sense? Weigh them. Take those that make sense. Finally, don’t obsess about your feelings that your boss is focused on your coworker more than you. Just focus on you and the job for which you were hired. Also maintain balance in your life; working out and enriching your life in activities outside of the job. Work is not all there is to life. Laugh, love, dance, sing and give of yourself to those less fortunate. Let me know what you do over the next few weeks. I want to learn what you do and what results. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that applies to working with your boss, your colleague, others coworkers and company-wide.

William Gorden