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Monday, March 3, 2008

am I being frozen out?

A reader writes:

I was wondering if what I am feeling is just paranoia or if I may be on to something. I have been getting the sense in the past few weeks that my stock as an employee in our company has fallen dramatically. My boss hasn't mentioned anything to me nor has anyone else. I am just getting this feeling because:

1) In meetings whereas before I felt certain people listened to me and took what I said seriously, now I feel like they are cutting me off mid-sentence whenever I speak.
2) People higher up than me are either not showing up or canceling meetings with me on projects I am working on.
3) I feel like I am not privy to important decisions and information being passed around on projects and am not included in "unofficial" meetings after hours, behind closed doors, etc.

I'm a midlevel technical person. I am not a director. So perhaps I shouldn't feel as if I am being slighted here since I am not a boss. But then again, how come I have this pervasive feeling that I have fallen out of favor among people I work with?

I have regular weekly update meeting with my boss. Are these type of issues appropriate to discuss with her or do I risk being perceived as a whiner in addition to the other stuff?

Talk to your boss. I'm glad your instinct is to ask about this candidly rather than to worry privately, and I would definitely want you to raise it if I were your boss -- so that I could either reassure you if there's no issue or use it as an opening to talk if there is. However, in the interests of not sounding too paranoid if indeed this is all inconsequential, I'd tone it down a little. Consider that you might be completely wrong and that what you're noticing isn't about you at all (but rather about situations that have nothing to do with you), and allow that possibility to inform your tone when you raise this. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add to askamanager's response that there may be situations that have nothing to do with you that are causing you to feel frozen out.

Especially if your company is undergoing a growth or reduction phase, it can be necessary to separate the chiefs from the indians. It's no slight against you; it's just that some things may need to be discussed only amongst the managers. Their choice not to involve you doesn't have anything to do with their trust or reverence for you; it's everything to do with protocol - and you're not, at present, a manager.

Additionally, since you are in a technical position, you may already be privy to certain areas or people that the managers want to keep their plans quiet from - for now.

If I were you, I'd talk to your boss openly - but say something like "I've noticed that I'm not included in a lot of discussions/meetings lately. Is that because there are changes occuring or getting ready to occur? If so, I just wanted to say that I am open to new ideas/change and I'd be happy to help in any way I can." Showing that you are open to change for the better may allow you to get back into the "inner circle". Don't be discouraged if it doesn't though; just think of the great impression you've made on your boss by showing that you understand the way the corporate world works!

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have discussed similar situations in the past with a former supervisor whom had assured me repeatedly that my performance was excellent, there was nothing I should be doing which I wasn't, yet my peers were being promoted, though I had seniority. A month later, I was terminated for literally no reason, according to that same supervisor. Thus, I don't necessarily believe that, just by inquiring, a supervisor will necessarily be forthright. I would approach the situation as others have suggested, but be very wary.