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The Coach: ‘My boss doesn’t recognise my brilliance’

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Careers expert Matthew Turner advises an architect who feels they have been overlooked

Although I have worked in my practice for many years, I feel like I still have a low profile – despite having been the backbone of many successful projects. They have passed me over on a number of occasions, and however much I try to excel at work, I never seem to be recognised.

Matthew turner

In today’s practice environment, it takes more than hard work to get ahead, and that is something that it sounds like you have struggled with. Do you feel that there are certain people who have the gift of self-promotion, who always seem to be in the right place at the right time to be noticed? They seem to have a sixth sense at recognising who to cultivate in the workplace and who to ignore, and which projects to put themselves forward for, and which to avoid.

Well, these people may exist, but the good news is this is not an innate skill. If you adopt certain behaviours, you can quickly see the results.

Are you sure your bosses really know of your willingness to step up to the plate?

There are a range of ways to boost your visibility. For example, speaking up in meetings, participating in learning opportunities, and volunteering for things whenever possible. You should also try to strengthen your relationship with your boss, avoid timidity in demonstrating your expertise, and ask for high-visibility projects. You may feel you have been denied the interesting projects to work on, but are you sure your bosses really know of your willingness to step up to the plate? Highlighting others’ achievements is also a good way to increase your visibility, without bragging or stepping on other people’s toes.

Given the number of years you have spent in your practice, it may be that, however much effort you put in, your efforts come to nothing, and the dye is cast in terms of people’s perception of you. If you sense this is the case, then adopt a profile-building approach to your next employer. The moment when you change jobs is the perfect time to reset attitudes and perceptions. 

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. To contact him with your questions, tweet @TheAJcoach or email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com 

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