You chose your career for personal reasons, in accordance with your values: you wanted an income, and perhaps you wanted to do certain things, to work on these sorts of projects and not on those. Having a strong sense of why you chose to do what you do is integrally important for defining yourself as a human being, rather than being just a part of the working class who happens to work at XYZ with no quantity of personal soul invested. Nevertheless, once you’ve clarified to yourself what you want out of life, what you want out of a career, you must nevertheless realize that your supervisor might not much care about it.
Your boss sees you in terms of how you make him look, in terms of how much you cost, how much you’re costing the company, and especially in terms of how much you’re costing him. Knowing that your supervisor has invested his ego in the company this way, that he identifies himself in terms of the productivity of those under him, doesn’t mean you need to scuttle your personal ambitions and desires and bend to whatever he wants. But it helps, nevertheless, to have a sense of what he expects of you, and why, and how you can use this to advance yourself.
Looking for personal fulfillment on the job might seem difficult, even quixotic, nowadays. We were always urged to follow our dreams and do what would fulfill us, but the business world doesn’t much care for that. They seek above all the competitive edge. So learn to see your personal dreams and ambitions in terms of how they can fit in with the hard cold edge of business acumen.
It helps to thank your boss for what he has done for you, to express gratitude that you are part of the company. Make it a goal to regularly talk with him, both personally and as a worker. Suggest what you can do to help the company, what ideas can improve things. And of course, know that if you do things that make him look better, he will increase your responsibility and make more use of you.
Seeing yourself through your boss’s eyes does not mean you have to give up your sense of identity. Rather, it means you are expanding your awareness of your environment, that you can build strategies on how to advance, using the desires and goals of the company to your advantage. Having regular talks with your supervisor will enable you to do this, and help you better situate yourself.How Does Your Boss See You? by Harrison Barnes