Several years ago, when I was relocated from China to US, I started as a project manager at my prior company. I had several years of expertise in my area, it was the key reason why I was transferred to headquarter.
As the role function and expectation was not exactly the same as Far East, I used first 6 months to prove myself that I was able to make a successful role transfer. I always knew what I wanted back at that time and was also quite ambitious. I knew that in a big company, esp when most of the senior roles were dominated by male colleagues, it would be hard to move up the career ladder. But I was young, and didn’t think I would lose anything if I let head of the division know about my interest. So I went to his office and asked what he thought about my performance, and then I shared him my interest. I wanted to manage people, not just projects. I guess the division head was quite surprised by my bold. Esp when I was the few Asian women in the division. All others were very quiet and tried to focus on their job. Everybody knew how hard we worked. Most of us were just waiting for our hard work to be noticed and rewarded spontaneously. But it really didn’t work that way.
Surprisingly, not long after the conversation, in a new restructure, I was promoted to team leader with one direct report. I guess my initiative of letting head of division know about my career plan told him that I wanted to grow with the company. I didn’t know that there was a restructure ongoing, If I didn’t take the move myself, I didn’t really think I would have had gotten the position.
This is a commonly mistake that a lot professionals made, esp woman. Sometimes, we focus too much on our expertise, we work our tail off, and don’t advocate of what we’ve done and have achieved, the value that we’ve brought to the organization. We wish that our hard work would be automatically noticed and rewarded. If you are lucky and have a good boss, maybe, as otherwise, you will never know how many opportunities you may have lost if you don’t openly share what you’ve achieved.
With it said, let’s not be shy about your achievement, let your managers know about what you’ve done, if you are not comfortable to talk to them in person, maybe a weekly or bi-weekly work summary in email would help. They may not respond, but you may be surprised to find out how much it can help you in a long run. Always keeping your boss informed.