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Submitted by AppleJack on


I'm looking for advice about how to balance making time to update my resume* and look for a new job, while working in a very difficult environment.

I love my job and feel lucky every day to have this opportunity. I've found a job I'm good at! and with MT I'm slowly becoming a better manager; I'm excited every day to do a little more, better for my staff. But it is time for me to start looking for a new job.

My difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that the organization is not headed in a good direction and I cannot change this. I come home every night intending to update my resume and send it out. Instead, I do just a little more work to pull us out of the most recent hole.

How to prioritize my time in the office? Should I focus on projects that:
- are under my new boss' scrutiny but in reality are a low priority?
- are critical and have significant value and impact to the organization long term?
- prepare my staff/coworkers to keep things running when I am gone?
- I care most about and would represent an accomplishment to me?

All four are in addition to meetings and necessary day-to-day work. I have to let three of the above go in order to take care of myself outside of office hours. The first my boss will notice, the others she won't notice if they don't get done (but I will).

Any advice would be appreciated.

*I'm learning the hard way to keep my accomplishments, etc.. updated regularly.

SamBeroz's picture

I would have a conversation with your manager to make sure you have alignment on priorities.  She may have a reason for not giving attention to some of the items you consider important.  I once spent way to much effort on a project that became OBE when our department merged with another and I wish I had known  to stop working on it earlier.  At the same time this would be an opportunity to help her avoid being blindsided by something that's not currently getting enough of her attention.  

Once you have a common view on priorities, you need to start delegating more.  This will promote knowledge transfer, help develop your directs, and free up your time.

Hopefully some of the items that you care about and would represent an accomplishment make the cut but ultimately you are there to deliver on what the organization considers important.

Hope that helps. - Sam

AppleJack's picture
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Thanks Sam  - I appreciate your suggestions. Last year I had a health scare (OK now) and began quietly preparing staff for a day that I might not be there; what is left requires a major jump in staff skills and knowledge. My part-time direct was struggling, but with help from folks on the MT forums, we've made major improvements recently. For my high performers, every week it's "Great job, you mastered X, how would you like to tackle Y?" I've delegated down nearly everything I can without investing substantial time to train them in entirely different skill sets. 

Unfortunately my (new) boss will not talk about priorities or answer my questions (even items she said were important). Before we meet I email a short list of key issues that I need to resolve with her, and a list of all projects with status, deadlines, etc... All of my red (problem/late) items require info from her to move forward--I've been waiting on some since October, deadlines are missed, revenue is going down, the list keeps growing. Going over her head is not an option--the emperor has no clothes AND walks on water.

Everyone has had the experience of their boss asking them to do something that doesn't seem important, and you just have to do it -- I get that. But things that will improve revenue are not given priority, the tasks she is giving me and will scrutinize, don't contribute to our goals or our bottom line -- hence the choices I listed above.

I have and will keep trying to improve how I communicate with her, but most of the time she has no idea what is going on or what to ask me. Based on reference requests from my peers, all of her directs are looking. The one bright spot is I've had a crash course in what isn't effective management and how I can improve. But I still want to do good--I'm not sure it's possible here, so I have to choose where I can do the most good and take care of myself.