Dear J.T. & Dale: I just got my first job out of college. I’m doing my best, but I feel I’m letting my new boss down. My first few weeks seemed good, but lately I’m noticing that she seems upset every time I have to ask her for help. The work I’m doing requires a lot of detail, so I need to ask a lot of questions. It’s at the point now where I feel like she is trying to avoid me. I’m scared I’m going to get fired. What can I do? – Justine
J.T.: Just because your boss is a manager doesn’t mean she is good at it. It sounds as though she thought you’d be able to work on your own but now that she is seeing how much training and support you need, she is regretting her decision to hire you. The attitude she is giving you indicates that she is frustrated and doesn’t know how to fix the situation.
DALE: Whoa. I think it’s a big mistake to assume that the boss is the problem. She might be, but hey, she’s still the boss, and that means she still has the option of trying out other employees who might not need so much help and reassurance.
Here’s the first step toward making things work, Justine: Realize that your job is to help make your manager’s job easier. That may sound obvious, but the unemployment rolls are full of people who expected their managers to be their counselors and problem-solvers.
J.T.: The good news is that you can take control here. Ask to meet with your boss. Tell her you sense that she is disappointed, and tell her you want to improve the situation. Offer some suggestions of things you could do, such as taking a class or setting up a way to be more efficient with asking the questions.
DALE: Yes, the solution may be as simple as saving up several questions to ask at one time so that she doesn’t feel constantly interrupted.
J.T.: By choosing to engage her in this difficult but important conversation, you will show your commitment to resolving the issue. I guarantee that it will help improve things. Not only will your relationship get better, you’ll learn how to solve problems together, and that’s the foundation of a lasting employment relationship!
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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