Dear J.T. & Dale: My company has been restructuring, and instead of reporting directly to my old boss, I was asked to start reporting to another senior member who’s been there a long time. While she’s lovely, she doesn’t have the same level of management experience as my old boss. I feel like my career hasn’t been growing, but I also feel like the new boss isn’t a person to have that conversation with. Is it wrong of me to go around her and try to talk to my old manager about this? – Marc
J.T.: It is wrong for you to go around your current boss. While she doesn’t have the level of experience of your previous manager, that may be the point of you being put in her charge. Meet with her and let her know that you are looking to grow your career and ask if she can help map out your next steps. You also could ask if it would be possible to bring your old manager into the discussion since he or she was responsible for you prior to your time working with the new manager. This is a chance for you to build trust with your boss by helping her evolve as a leader.
DALE: You are wise to be concerned about your manager’s influence on your future. A great boss will not only motivate and educate you but will help you move up. Said another way, a great boss is your “promoter” in both senses of that word – he or she not only offers you the chance to step up to a new role but is your promoter within the organization, helping executives realize your potential. It’s like what you hear in sports about a “coaching tree.” So you should always be seeking out leaders willing to accelerate your career. In the short run, I’d follow J.T.’s advice, but I’d also volunteer for companywide initiatives, getting the chance to see other bosses and be seen by them.
Dear J.T. & Dale: During the pandemic, I started a social media account on TikTok. On it, I give a bunch of helpful tips on cooking healthy. I currently work at a small health food store. I mentioned to them that I could do some social media for free to showcase the business, but they turned me down. Well, now a more nationally known chain has reached out to me asking if I would do some TikTok for them, and they will pay me for it. I checked our company handbook, and it doesn’t say anything about being able to do a side hustle. Something about this makes me feel bad. What should I do? – Selena
DALE: Yes, feel bad for the owners of the small store, whose business is dead, but they have yet to realize it. I say that because if a company is mute to employees trying to embrace the future, that company is doomed. So go to the national chain and get a job there and be a star, and OK, maybe give a little sigh when you pass your old store.
J.T.: I know that what Dale is saying sounds harsh, but this really is the future, where people can make some solid money doing something they enjoy and helping others all the while. On the other hand, if you really need or want to stay in your current job, I definitely wouldn’t accept the online engagement without first telling your current employer. Even though there’s nothing in the handbook, when somebody from the company sees your social media account, they’ll be upset. I would go to your manager and explain that you have been approached by the competitor and be honest about what they’re offering you. Tell them that this is a good financial opportunity for you but that you’re conflicted because you love your current job. See if they might be able to come to some new agreement, because maybe now they’ll realize the value of social media – if their competitor’s coming to you, they may recognize your value! One way or the other, you’ll make it work.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Visit them at jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2021 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.