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Q.
My boss thinks I'm slacking off when I'm on the road. What are some ways to change her perception?

A.
Those who stay office bound often think their traveling co-workers are sitting on the beach with a pina colada in hand, no matter if the reality is they're working 12-hour-long days and eating lonely room-service meals. The solution is to address the parts of the situation that allow her to think you're slacking off.

First, respond quickly to her communications. For example, if she asks you to do something while you're on the road and you are unavailable at the moment, she may conclude that her requests are not a priority. If you can't act on your boss's needs right away, notify her by email, text, or phone call that you're busy with pressing obligations but will attend to them as soon as possible.

Second, take a preemptive approach. Checking in with your boss when you are on the road sends the message that you aren't neglecting your usual workload. Frequent check-ins also prevent her from having to track you down, which contributes to the idea you're evading work.

Last, at day's end, write up a quick summary of what you did and send it to her via email. Sometimes a laundry list of your accomplishments will help eliminate this nagging issue. By following these steps, you'll remind your boss you're working, not playing, and keep her from thinking you're taking a leisurely vacation at the company's expense. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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