Career advice: Working around a bad boss

Premier 100 IT Leader Raman Mehta also answers questions on returning from an extended maternity leave and finding some economic sectors with a future

Raman Mehta
Raman Mehta of EWIE Co.

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader
Raman Mehta
Title:
CIO and chief process architect
Company: EWIE Co.

Mehta is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answers questions about working around a bad boss, returning from an extended maternity leave and finding an economic sector with a bright future. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to askaleader@computerworld.com.

I like my company. I like my job. I hate my boss. He's always covering his you-know-what and taking credit that isn't due him. So far I've gotten along by telling myself two out of three (company and job) isn't bad, but I think I'm going to need a better way to cope. Any advice? The best thing to do is to become visible a layer above your boss. This requires a lot of hard work, planning and getting out of the comfort zone. One trick I found earlier in my career was to get recognition outside of my current job. There are many ways to achieve this: writing for internal newsletters, speaking engagements at industry seminars, etc. You can also check if there are any formal skip-level meetings in your organization. Once you get the opportunity to network with your boss's superiors, it will be easier to move to a different group. You also need to do an effective job of managing your boss -- upward communication is an art. Have an open dialogue and make your boss understand that recognition is a major motivation factor for you.

I was on an extended maternity leave from work in 2010. I do not like to disclose this to prospective employers due to gender prejudices that may exist. How can I explain this resume gap without deception while still protecting my privacy? What CIOs care foremost about when hiring a resource is the future potential and value to the organization. I personally would have no issues in hiring somebody back from maternity leave. What I would like to see is a prior track record of staying ahead of the curve. Most employers would have no issues as long as you can demonstrate that while away from work you were still connected and stayed abreast with the latest happenings in your field. It is very common these days to see resumes with unexplained gaps due to rightsizing, people pursuing entrepreneurial pursuits in unrelated fields, etc. Be honest if the topic comes up during the interview process and highlight some of your business knowledge and skills that have no impact from the extended leave.

Having worked in IT in two dying industries (newspapers and American manufacturing), I figure I should aim next time for an industry with a brighter future. What seems promising? First of all, the manufacturing industry is showing a lot of promise in last couple of years; especially in the high-tech industrial manufacturing sector, there has been a definite uptick. The publishing industry is undergoing a makeover with a focus on delivery through mobile applications. IT plays a very important role in transforming industries such as manufacturing and publishing, and the acquired experience is quite valuable to other upcoming industries, such as alternative energy, smart utility grids and bioengineering. One industry that has most promise is pure-play companies that bring social media into an enterprise. With your prior stint in the publishing industry; mobile advertising on social media may also be a smart move.

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