PersonalBranding_v_being invisible

Being Invisible v Being a Brand

I have recently come across an article with an intriguing title in Harvard Business Review: “Being invisible can help your career”. As a personal branding specialist I was extremely intrigued by such a title and very eager to read the article, although I have to admit that I was quite biased from the very beginning.

The author’s main points were that if you are invisible you (1) learn to wield informal power, by building a support network outside your workplace since your colleagues and superiors ignore you, (2) it gives you a reason to work even harder, therefore you bring a lot of success to your team/department even though no one recognizes your efforts and positive input and (3) invisibility provides cover to disruptors, meaning you can gain a lot of power and influence within your workplace and “overthrow” the big guys. By the end of the article I was not only in total disagreement, but actually outraged!

Let me take you step by step and explain, from my point of view, why I believe the main points made by the author are very wrong and detrimental to career success, especially in today’s working environment.

  1. You learn to wield informal power: to wield any power, being formal or informal you need to be seen and recognized as having at least some sort of influence within the structure you work in. To be successful you need a strong support network both within your organization and outside of it. To build such a network you definitely have to be a “solid connection”, either extremely well connected and hence influential, or financially able and hence investment worthy, or very accommodating and hence usable or simply very charismatic and therefore entertaining.

Any of the above would make you visible since none of the above could be attributed to someone invisible.

  1. Gives you a reason to work even harder and hope that someone would actually notice you. Recognition is one of the most important driving forces behind hard work. If no one cares or bothers to notice your hard work, why even try. Furthermore, if you work really hard but no one notices, doesn’t it mean that you don’t deliver good results and quality work? It’s like pedaling on a fixed bicycle and expecting to win a race. Let’s be serious!

In today’s world if you don’t make sure everybody acknowledges your efforts and positive input to the team and the company, somebody else will definitely take the praise for, benefit from and become very successful because of it.

  1. Invisibility provides cover to disruptors: the author’s point is that “flying under the radar” gives you the opportunity to grow bigger and stronger and, when the time is right, become visible and take over the positions of the big guys.

Well, it hardly ever works like this. We live in a very visible world today in which all efforts are made to be as visible as possible or all chances will pass you by. Unless you are present in social media, network groups and become easily recognizable at least within your group, chances are nobody will take you for serious when you finally become visible.

The only positive thing that being invisible might bring to your career is job safety, with hardly any prospects of promotion, of recognition and definitely no success. But even that would probably come with an expiration date when someone visible will be a much better candidate, one visibly aligned with the company’s brand.

Being invisible is frustrating even for the shyest and most introverted people and can easily lead to depression and far worse.

In today’s world nobody can afford not to be visible with unemployment being so high, people are fighting to be visible, to be noticed and to be chosen. Being invisible makes you redundant even if you might actually be very valuable, but since no one noticed your value, there is no visible reason to keep you on board. Furthermore, being invisible makes you mute as well, so people not only don’t see you, but they don’t even hear you! Maybe the author confused being anonymous with being invisible …

My Conclusion: being invisible is the death of your career!

My Advice: do everything possible to be as visible as possible.

Work hard, but make sure people know and recognize your achievements, build strong networks that can act as a safety net or a trampoline for your career, fly safely on the radar without being threatening and conquer your way to the top of your successful career. Be DISTINCT or be EXTINCT!


Words – Links:

Article: (p1, l2) links to article page

Network (p4, l5) links to MBerciu website (Essential Networking)

Brand (p10, l5) – links to LINKED into Company Image

Successful (p13, l4) – links to Career Success Coaching page

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  1. I totally agree with you, Mrs. Mihaela Berciu. Professionally speaking, the people should be proactive and do their best in order to gain recognition of their competence instead of waiting for someone to discover their talent. Some of them might get lucky and be likely to happen this way, but we are talking about a very small proportion. If you’re (very) good at what you’re doing and the others are aware of it, then it’s much easier to be a successful person even in times of economic crisis.

  2. My life is just one God story after another. Of crosue, it’s only looking in hindsight that I can see that now, how one thing led to another and led to another. And all in perfect timing .mind you not my timing, God’s timing, which I only later understood why it was perfect. All my God stories are like puzzle pieces, they may have seemed random, unconnected, and not part of the same picture at all, but God orchestrates each piece omnipotently.The story of finding freedom from co-dependence and an abusive relationship, which resulted in then finding my awesome husband, which resulted in my husband finding God. The story of job after job that didn’t work out for either of us, including at the company we met at, until my husband’s career misfortune led me to a great job, and a great co-worker/friend that led us to Riverwood. The story of how we ‘needed’ to move due to trying to have a family and the declining housing market and ended up looking for a house near Riverwood in a neighbourhood we hadn’t really considered, with an offer we shouldn’t have been able to make, and which was accepted. The story of how we haven’t been able to have children after all, which can seem like a story of conception dysfunction, but it led to us both taking the Engaging crosue and finding deep fulfillment in our ministry passions. The story of jumping into what I thought was a relationship ministry and how it transformed into a recovery ministry, which if I had encountered a ’12 step program’ even just a few months earlier would have written it off as ‘not for me’, but instead discovered I’ve had my own incredible recovery God has led me through. The story of all the people who share my struggle with anxiety that he’s brought into my life over the last few years, random friendships that have become a circle of support, and the victories (big and small) we’ve found together through Celebrate Recovery. The story of my husband’s family, non-Christians whom we’ve been trying to find ways to help God reach into their lives, lives riddled with divorce, grief, and many other hurts, and how it’s only now clear I have a connection to recovery AND them for a reason. The story of how my great (full-time) job, which has become even greater, agreeing to some flexibility that has allowed me to shift my schedule so that I can dedicate about 7-8 hours per week to being a leader at Celebrate Recovery.You may notice a theme in the God stories I chose to share, and that’s because I have recently been able to see how God has conducted ‘behind the scenes’ just about every single area of my life so that I was in perfect placement to be part of Celebrate Recovery. When I dove into the ministry before it became ‘recovery’ I was looking for a place to serve for a couple hours per week, to give me a sense of purpose, giving back, and to be obedient. Like I said, I had no ‘conscious’ connection with recovery, and adding the equivalent of a part time job to my schedule, which can be a little busy/stressful/overwhelming (things that are not good for someone prone to anxiety), wasn’t in my plans. I wondered at first what I was even doing at Celebrate Recovery. But at the end of every week, especially the stressful ones, it’s not TGIF because I get to go home and veg, it’s TGIF because I get to go serve a great group of people all evening. I am so blessed just by being there! I have met people who have faced such tragedy, who are in crisis, so worn down by pain, ready to give up on the world in one way or another, people who would never ordinarily step inside a Church and our night at Celebrate Recovery is a last ditch effort exception. I have seen these same people return Friday after Friday, connect with the ‘me too’ community we have, find a smile they had lost, and some start coming to Riverwood even on Sunday! I am so blessed to be part of a Church that can foster this kind of life transformation, but even more blessed to be a child of God who loves us and heals us. He loves me and values my life so much that he has deliberately and intimately woven together the pieces of my life so beautifully, I cannot express or contain the gratitude and joy he gives me.

  3. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest
    thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about
    worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Tip of the Week
The value of what you receive is always reflected in the value of what you pay!
Mihaela Berciu


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