I had another blog before this one. In it I talked about all manner of personal things. That blog built up a decent following, though nowhere near as big as some that I have come across. I think that is due in part to the fact that people like to look at other people’s lives. Maybe out of curiosity, maybe for some kind of “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of thing. I don;t know.
I deleted that blog because I felt like I had discussed too much personal information. Where I work that is frowned upon.
It is not my intention to get deeply in to my personal life again, but I believe there are some things that all of us have in common. So I will discuss my own thoughts and current situation with regard to some of those things.
This morning as I was heading to my desk I spotted a member of my management chain walking toward me down the hallway. He went through a door to the stairs leading down to his office, so we didn’t actually walk past each other or speak. The last time we did walk past each other he turned his head to the wall and purposely avoided making eye contact or speaking to me. When I saw him this morning I was reminded of that.
I am a relatively intelligent individual. I excel at some things and struggle with others as most people do, but in general I am capable, competent, reliable and able to get the job done, whatever that may be. As I looked at this individual, about whom I can say none of the things I just said about myself, it dawned on me that I must have really, really screwed up somewhere along the way. And I am not alone…
We live in a society where education is valued. Yet, we all know people with degrees that are essentially clueless, bumbling, idiots. Childish, petulant, pouting little people with titles populate management positions at companies big and small, all over this nation. And much like Obama takes credit for killing Osama bin Laden, as if he personally pulled the trigger, these managers make a career out of taking credit for the things their subordinates accomplish.
Many of these people offer no guidance, no direction, no mentoring or advice. They do not ask you, or themselves, how they can help you advance in your career, achieve your goals, rise to your potential, or even benefit the company as a whole. They simply send out vague emails, with just enough information to qualify as a communication, but not enough to hold them accountable if something goes wrong. If you succeed they take the credit, if you fail you take the blame.
I have mentioned in a number of forums that I consider my last manager the best manager I have ever had. That is because she invested herself in the people that worked for her. She saw us all as a team, and she wanted the team to win. She encouraged us to pull together, reach our potential, and achieve our goals. She pulled people in, one at a time, and helped them map out the path forward. She helped us identify strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to leverage our strengths and work on our weaknesses.
None of that is present in my current position, though I work for the same company.
Where I am now we are all just assembly line workers. Meet your quota or you’re fired is the mindset. One of my co-workers was told that she needed to fill out her PDR because management uses those “when we’re looking to get rid of people”. The manager in question, I guess, was trying to help her keep her job because he likes her. But he inadvertently revealed a mindset that poisons the workplace and generates animosity. My question is, why are you looking to “get rid of people”? Shouldn’t you be looking to retain people? Shouldn’t you be looking to build a team and guide it toward success? Or is it all about the numbers on your personal evaluation, without care or concern for the real people and the real lives involved in decisions like firing someone?
I work in a secure environment. Security violations occur almost daily. Sometimes, it is an employee of my company that is involved. But when I ask questions like, “Was this reported to security” I am ignored, or worse. I am sometimes told that security concerns will be handled by management and are not my problem. But this is untrue. Every single one of us has a duty to report suspected violations, and we all sign documents to that effect. In addition, it is in management’s interests to conceal a violation, as repeatedly violating security regulations can result in adverse actions with regard to current and future contracts.
There was a time when I was proud of what I did and who I did it for. Now, I wake up like many of us do, dreading the day ahead of me. Feeling under-utilized, unappreciated and disrespected.
I come home every evening like the guy in the television commercial whose parrot says, “Not another day. I can’t take it anymore.”
I have gone from a trusted and respected member of a team, working with a group of people to provide our customer with a good product and provide them support for that product, to a punk kid working at a car wash (effectively). It is the difference between “what do you think?” and, “just keep your mouth shut and do your job”.
I am surrounded by people with technical skills and experience, some of them with long careers doing what we do, and none of that matters. We are beset with inane requests for updated information (like where do you sit, even though my seat has never changed). We are required to “clock” in and out via email, even though we are all salaried employees. We are sent reminders like, “Time sheets are due today” on Fridays, like we’re a bunch of forgetful kids who don’t know what day it is. And we are hounded about our workload and how busy we are staying, in spite of the fact that we are getting the job done every day.
I know I entitled this post “Getting Here”. But I am not entirely sure how I got here. I’ll have to give that more thought and write another post later.