Show Your Boss Everything You Actually Do
How to make your invisible work visible
As a journalist, I never really know before I start a story how it’s going to pan out. All manner of things can — and often do — go wrong: Sources flake; recorders malfunction; pandemics put the world on lockdown. Sometimes, filing a draft feels like crossing the finish line of an uphill marathon.
Every job has its own version: Customers are irrational; orders get lost; pandemics (still) put the world on lockdown. For many years, when I was struggling through one of those disasters beyond my control, I’d keep it to myself — after all, I reasoned, this was my job, and it was on me to get it done. I believed that my hard work would be evident in my output.
But the older I got, the more I began to notice a pattern: In every job, the colleagues who advanced the quickest tended to be the ones who called attention to their hurdles and made sure their managers were aware of everything they’d done to get past them. In a recent Twitter thread, one piece of career advice stuck out to me: “Make your invisible work visible.” In other words, show your boss everything you do.
Stuck in our own homes, it can feel draining just to get through the workday. We’re also grappling with the realization that we’re in this for the long haul — which means that as the pandemic stretches through the coming weeks and months, we’re all going to have to learn how to recreate some semblance of normal work life. Learning how to communicate the value of your work has never been so challenging, but it hasn’t stopped being vital. Here’s how to do it effectively.
Use a light touch
Showing your boss that you have things under control is always a balancing act. “Blowing your own trumpet can feel incredibly uncomfortable,” notes Nadia Finer, whose organization, Shy and Mighty, coaches shy people on how to increase their visibility in the workplace.
No one wants to look like they’re fishing for praise in front of their colleagues. To avoid that, Finer recommends doing your debrief in a one-on-one setting with your manager. “If you’re not keen on announcing your achievements to the wider team, suggest to your boss that you have a weekly catch-up,” she says, and use…