Bosses can be horrible and jealous of people’s potential, especially of subordinate’s potential. Who wouldn’t, when a talented subordinate has the potential of unseating a boss from a comfortable position?

Unfortunately, there are few options for a situation where your talent is constricted by your boss(es). First, you can find your way out of the organization; a letter is a nice way to do it. Second, if the organization happens to be your dream organization, find the way up.

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  1. Familiarize with the company’s goings on. Know the structure, products and services, policies, and the ways of doing things inside. Be unobtrusive at the start, because that way, you’ll know a lot of things without being a threat (to your boss especially).
  2. Show what you’re made of. Talent cannot be confined or remain inconspicuous for a long time. If you’re a good speaker or a strong leader, team meetings will be a good venue to show it off.
  3. Always make your job spotless while you begin to expose your talent. Remember, your boss can always kick you out with a bad performance rating, so don’t give the boss a good reason for doing it.
  4. Make yourself indispensable. That way, people cannot kick you around even if they want to. If you’re a lowly clerk in the fundraising department, become one **** of a good clerk with a good grasp of the dynamics of fundraising. Don’t just type what you’re told to type, know how the whole system works. Answering the phone is a golden opportunity to make an impression to clients – and the big guns, eventually. Accept higher responsibilities.
  5. Know the higher-ups. This doesn’t mean greasing your way up, but make sure that you’re not invisible to the people who really have a say in your career advancement. If caught in the elevator with the top helmsman, don’t shrivel in silence. You don’t need to pitch in your promotion, but you can always give a smart greeting with a mention of your name and department.
  6. Having gained knowledge and experience, make a pitch for a higher position. At this point, all the experience gained and responsibilities that you’ve assumed will find their importance. The higher position doesn’t need to be your direct superior’s job. It can be higher, in another department, or a totally new job that needs a unique skills set.
  7. Recognize the right timing for your pitch. Organizations are dynamic. If you’re perceptive enough, there are vacuums that occur, especially during critical times. If you think you’ve learned enough and seen enough, why don’t you write your own job description corresponding to your abilities, experience, and the need provided by the vacuum? No better timing could beat that. Emphasize the training you had while holding various responsibilities, and the costs that the company would save because it won’t need to train and hire another person.

Your boss will naturally not be receptive to this, so find the higher boss who will. This is risky business. At worst, your proposition will be seen as misplaced superiority and be denied. At best, your perceptiveness and proactive attitude will be recognized and you’ll be given the job description you wanted, or better.