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Getting ahead in spite of having a difficult supervisor

I am considered to be a SAP Jr administrator. My supervisor refuses to teach me too much. She is very good, but keeps finding small things wrong with my work. How can I get ahead? I have a title, sort of, but what can I do to move ahead?

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Part of "moving ahead" professionally is learning how to get along with difficult supervisors. Like it or not, playing organizational politics is part of how you get from point A to point B. Of course, you can try to find another job and continue your SAP learning somewhere else, but you may find that the market is not all that enthusiastic about junior-level experience. If that's the case, then you have to take a fresh look at your current situation. I would recommend taking a proactive approach and see if there are things you can do to improve your standing with your supervisor in order to get more hands-on exposure. There are sometimes opportunities, such as performance reviews, where you can ask for greater skills challenges in exchange for emphasizing your commitment to mastering the basics and making a contribution. Your supervisor sounds like she could be a mentor if you could find a way to change the chemistry of your relationship. Not an easy thing to do, but well worth it in this tough job market. Good luck.

This was first published in August 2003

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