Send your workplace conundrums to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.
In nine years at my organization, I've gone from an entry-level slot to an administrative position with a wide array of responsibilities. My supervisor has been somewhat helpful, but I have formed a stronger bond with her boss, the director of the department. We have a standing weekly meeting (which he makes an effort to keep!), I'm assigned to many of his pet projects, and get a lot of positive feedback about my performance.
To me, this director is my mentor in everything but name. But it seems presumptuous to call him my mentor if he doesn't see it that way. I've made a few attempts to steer conversation toward my appreciation for the opportunities he's giving to me. I really want to acknowledge his support, but I don't want to come off as creepy or ingratiating.
I feel I need to address this soon. I'm finishing up a graduate degree and outgrowing my current position. The director has hinted that he wants to keep me around. But I don't see how he'll be able to create a job with an appropriate salary. And actually, that's fine! I feel prepared to move on.
I just want to express my thanks now before it gets wrapped into negotiations for a better salary or informing him I'm moving on. What's the best way?