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Speaking Up at Work

Do You Make It Happen, or Wait For Someone Else To?

A few weeks ago I was offering some solicited career advice to a good friend, who is five years into working at her dream firm but routinely suspects her efforts are being ignored by her manager. While she is quick to complain to friends and family (heck, aren't we all?), we ended our conversation with her realizing she needs to initiate a careful conversation about her concerns with her manager or else continue to suffer in silence. The notion of taking personal responsibility for professional happiness and success is echoed in a recent New York Times piece. The interviewee, a successful businessman, noted:

If you’re in a difficult situation, you have to make something happen rather than sit back and feel sorry for yourself.

When you are bummed about a career setback or stump, do you "make it happen" for yourself, or do you wait for your manager or circumstances to change?

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Advah Advah 6 years
Tricky. I've realised that sometimes coworkers/managers can be insightful and pick up you're unhappy with your job, and sometimes no matter how many times you say it they just won't get it until you sat them down and say "I hate my job, something needs to change". But I'm also in the position where my manager won't let me do anything more interesting in my job, no matter how supportive he can be. He doesn't think of it in terms of career or even making my day to day life different by giving me different tasks - and we've talked about it for the past two years. I just had to accept things won't change until I get a different job.
katnyc katnyc 6 years
I agree about asking for a sit down. I'm sure she is a hard worker but without voicing what she is interested in doing managers will not just pull you in the office to say "hey I think you're doing great so let's talk about your furure" show them you are hungry by letting them know where you see yourself, always ask for feedback because as hard as you may work maybe there is something that needs to be worked on. I say walk if they make NO effort to help you set a developmental path.
pearsbeary pearsbeary 6 years
lickety split, I understand your pov, but will play the devil's advocate and say that doing so also perpetuates the perception that the younger workforce has a self-deserving mentality. Savvy, communication is an important component. Your friend could think of ways to start this dialogue (ie. requesting feedback, talking to a mentor). At least that way she can reflect on possible areas of improvement while simultaneously voicing things she has accomplished at work. This way, even if she chooses to leave her dream firm, she will know that she has done everything possible to ensure her happiness there. Walk away with no regrets!
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
Your friend should leave this position. Young people make the mistake of thinking "caring" is a 2 way street; it's not. The job will be there, the responsibility will be there down the road. Corporations do NOT care about the individual.
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