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Advice: Tainted Talent?

How you can win over a new boss.

Mary was the head of my department and my immediate boss. Jane is the head of Department B. Our two departments work closely on many projects.

Sally worked in my department with me, but Jane became her mentor and close friend. Unfortunately, Sally wasn't the best at her job, but every time Mary tried to have Sally fired for poor performance, Jane blocked it, causing a huge rift between Mary and Jane.

I came into this situation late. Mary took a liking to me and began to reward my efforts, which only made Jane hate me. Sally has been transferred to another office. Mary left the company recently. Jane still hates me and is thick with my new supervisor, William, and I'm concerned that she has tried to make me look bad in his eyes. I'm getting the scut work. How can I minimize the damage?

First, continue to do your job well and pleasantly. And your job, in addition to whatever specific tasks are hurled at you, is to make your boss look good. With that goal in mind, pick a good moment to approach William and let him know that there are X, Y, and Z tasks you could handle well and would welcome more challenging assignments. Present him with a very specific proposal for some task you would like to take on that would solve a problem facing the department. Every employee has the responsibility for "managing up"; presenting solutions to your boss's problems, with a specific plan for your contribution, is the surest way to win your boss's trust.