A common and frustrating comment I hear often is “I wish I had someone who would go to bat for me.” I feel your pain. Career management works best when there are senior level people, mentors, and leaders who believe in you and will help promote your brand. I’ll be talking more about “your brand” later. Just as many people wish they had someone who would be their advocate you often have opportunities to advocate for others and don’t realize it.
Many years ago when I was still just a developer I found an opportunity to advocate for someone. Another developer, my peer but an older gentleman, was doing really good work. On our project team he and I were two of the “Top 4” developers who got all the toughest assignments and solved all the difficult problems. The customer did not realize how much this other developer was really doing, so I started talking very specifically about some of his accomplishments in our project meetings.
This willingness to talk about accomplishments that were not my own had two beneficial effects to my career.
1. I proved I was a team player. I was promoting a co-worker and making sure senior management was aware of his contributions.
2. I gained a loyal ally in my co-worker. A good thing because he and I have crossed paths ever since. Even now when we no longer have a common employer!
There is a classic problem in that we always want someone to do something for us, but we never ask if we can be that person for someone else. Chances are good that you probably work with someone who wishes they had someone who would “go to bat” for them. Could you be that person to them?