There are days, I am sure, that you sit in your office and you hide from your work. You put it off and wait another day. You are easily distracted in the moment by every little fancy. You check the weather. You check the news. You grab a coffee, and maybe bagel. But, most of all, you hide. You go unnoticed in plain sight.
And then there are the days that you are so consumed by your work that you forget to grab lunch. Your conversations are short, hurried and brief. You do not even have time to check the web. You rush, you're frantic, but you are delivering. You are really pounding it out. Only problem is, no one notices. You are still hidden in plain sight. Only thing people see is you in distress. Each interaction that you had was so frantic, you have pushed people away. And maybe they are talking, and if so, it is not in a good way.
If this sounds like you, ask yourself how do people know about the work that you do? I know in most organizations they measure success based on metrics, and results. But what are you doing to show your true value to the organization if what you do goes unnoticed? This is the paradox of being stuck in the middle. Sometimes, the harder you work, the deeper you dig and the more invisible you come.
I am not suggesting that you stop working and you loaf about and pound on your chest all day long. I am saying that you need to find a balance. You need to make sure your value is evident throughout. You need to own what you do well and make sure people know it, but be confident, not arrogant.
If you want to move in your career, and get unstuck, think about who sees you, what they see and go do something about it. Take the time to walk the floors. Check in frequently, albeit briefly, with your people. Share the learnings that you strike upon. Share the successes and the war stories. Learn to lead and guide others.
Oh, and its not 1992 anymore, staying late in the office for appearance sake went away with MC Hammer pants.