You’ll experience many mixed feelings on the uncertain tides of fulfilling the duties of a new job. Even though it takes at least a few months to learn what a new position entails, you feel lost when trying to find the information you need or how long you can keep food in the breakroom fridge. Then, you find your feet, and early on, the praise comes easily — “You’re doing a great job! You’ve accomplished and learned so much since we hired you.”
You continue working on your daily tasks and fall into a routine. The odd smile and wave from your boss or coworkers show they like you, they really like you. Everything is fine, you tell yourself — until you realize weeks have gone by without any positive feedback.
When did your boss last pat you on the back or thank you for doing a good job? Your boss used to praise you frequently, but then it all stopped — it’s like dating someone who’s enthusiastic about getting to know you at first, fully smitten and then nada.
Don’t worry. You’re not a failure. You haven’t lost your touch. You’ve just all gotten comfortable with one another, and you’re still stellar. If you’re still looking for a sign it’s true, here are eight of them just for you:
1. Feedback has increased
It sounds counterintuitive that feedback increases when you do your job well — shouldn’t you expect to get more praise, instead?
Consider this: You’re soaring along without having burned the place to the ground accidentally. Your continued success only means you’ll grow, and the feedback, resources, tools and suggestions your boss is giving you is a strategy to fine-tune your skills as you do so. It’s your boss’ job to challenge you, and it means he or she is invested in your success. When you feel a little self-doubt creep in, it’s also OK to ask for feedback.
2. You’re the go-to person
When the software fails or someone needs to find info stat for a frazzled client, you’re the go-to person who always finds a solution, even when you feel a little uncertain yourself. You’ve got the magic skill of taking the initiative as a reliable source who steps back, breathes and seeks a solution.
You’ve also put in the work to know the ins and outs of various systems, protocols and clients. When you don’t know the answer, rest assured, you’ll find it — and everyone in the office knows it. You’re the wearer of many hats, and though you feel more like the Mad Hatter helping various versions of Alice find her way, know people trust you as a resource and expert.
3. Your opinion has value
In a meeting, you give thoughtful and objective feedback, rather than nodding along silently with everyone in the room. So, when your boss turns to you and asks, “What do you think?”, he’s not picking on you. When it comes to decisions of all sizes, your opinion carries weight.
Coworkers come to you not only as the go-to person, but also because they value your opinion. Newer recruits come to you as someone they admire, and may be seeking your reassurance on an idea for that reason. You become an excellent example of how to be a leader to interns and coworkers because you value their opinions, too, and encourage them to go for it. Since you remember the uncertain days of being a newbie, you help the team out and pay it forward professionally.
4. Your boss wants you to take care of things
These two questions probably sound familiar: “Can you handle this for me?” and “Can you take care of this?”
The emphasis is on “handle” and “care.” Don’t take these requests lightly. Just because you do them often doesn’t mean your boss is laying all the work on you to shirk responsibilities for the day. Your boss trusts you to resolve the tasks to satisfaction and truly take care of various issues.
5. You’re the captain of your desk
Being a recruit requires a period of handholding as you get accustomed to your duties. Sometimes, you have an unruly client even the boss has to take a deep swig of coffee before handling, and those training you wanted to make sure you could handle the situation.
Do you still need handholding? No, you don’t. Just because someone isn’t listening or leaning over your shoulder doesn’t mean they’re not paying attention. You’re the captain of your desk, and you’ve earned the trust it takes to spearhead even the most complicated of challenges. You’ve proven yourself.
6. You’ve got more responsibilities
A new job title may not have come with the workload yet, but gaining more responsibilities means having earned the trust you won’t collapse under the weight of it all. Your boss knows you can handle what’s on your plate, especially since you’ve learned to balance your existing duties without the stress a newbie might feel.
You get projects that help you build new skills, align with your career development goals and make you a critical contributor to the mission of the company. That’s not just your overworked boss sliding too much work from their plate to yours. A savvy boss knows when someone capable can take on extra work, and each new assignment helps you grow.
7. You’re the ambassador of your company
Your boss asks you to represent the company at every trade show or speaking engagement. When the press comes calling for quotes, you serve as a spokesperson. You may feel like the office mascot, but you’re much more than that.
No matter what you’re called to do as a company “figurehead,” the truth boils down to the fact that you’re an appointed representative of the company because of your knowledge and the trust placed on you to do it well.
8. You get to “run with it”
No, not with scissors or hot coffee, because that would end badly, but to run with your ideas. While some managers have a micro-management style, most of them do so because an employee is struggling with meeting expectations. When you get permission to run with an idea, the complete opposite is true.
Self-doubt may make you think you need approval on every step of a proposed project, but the boss trusts you to see it all through to success. Remember how you tackled your first project? You determined your resources, found a project team and made the appropriate adjustments as you went along, even when you hit a roadblock. You perceived the failures as opportunities. So, just run with it.
Your boss has relaxed with the praise and the checking in because she trusts you to do the job well and exceed expectations. Your boss knows you’ve got this, that you’re more than capable of taking a project, running with it and blowing them all away. So, you get even more responsibilities and the role of company representative when the occasion arises.
You’re a valued asset because you’re not afraid of taking the initiative, helping your coworkers and solving problems that come your way without handholding. Feedback and responsibilities increase because your employer wants you to continue to grow with the company and be an excellent example as a stellar contributor for others.