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SENSE & SENSITIVITY, A COLUMN BY HARRIETTE COLE

Worker fears new manager doesn't know much about her

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 10:09 am

Q.: After some corporate restructuring, I now have a manager in another state instead of a local manager. My new manager is a nice person, but in the six months since the transfer, I’ve spoken to him only a few times, and I don’t hear from him about anything I’m working on or that I’m supposed to be doing.

I know I have become complacent in my position and have not kept up with current technology like I should – and I’m in IT. Now I’m scared to let the new manager know how much I don’t know. I believe that I can complete any tasks assigned to me now, but maybe not for the future. We are implementing a new corporatewide computer system and I am on the team, but I don’t get any notifications of meetings or have any specific tasks assigned to me.

Should I continue to fly under the radar, or should I request a phone conference with the new manager and voice all of my concerns? I have always felt needed and knowledgeable here in my location, but now I am feeling like I’m overlooked and not needed. If I become an active member of the project team, I would be required to travel four days of every week, and I don’t like to leave my home and family. – In Hiding, Chicago

A.: First, decide what you want for yourself in this job. If you want to remain part of the team, it’s time to drop your complacency and set a course for success. That means figuring out what you need to learn so that you can be up-to-date in your IT knowledge. Being proactive is essential.

Of course you should develop a relationship with your new boss. Ask him about the new system and how he would like for you to help implement it. Point out that you are on the project team but haven’t been given assignments yet. Let him know that you think you need additional training to do your best at your job. Tell him you have already begun looking into educational support. Ask what kind of training is available at your company.

Talk with your family about the possibility of significant travel. If it’s something you can do for a specific period, you may want to go for it.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.