There is more to encouraging loyalty than the promise of reward. There is honest feedback that is intended to bring out the best in employees and make them want to deliver results. Lying to people may get results once – but it takes away the desire to contribute long term.
I have worked in a large corporation for about 12 years and for most of this time I have been content. There is limited scaling of the income but the steady paycheck and health coverage gave me a sense of security. I was proud to be an employee and would always speak highly of the company. I felt like part of something and that my work mattered. I took all the recommendations and guidance from my boss and looked to him as a mentor.
“Just work through this project and I can’t promise anything but I am putting in the recommendation for you to get promoted. Usually these are done twice a year” or so I was told, but it was always the next round that I was waiting for. As we came close to the conclusion of the project I was to write my wish list of the perfect scenario and I was magically going to have buy in at all levels. And I did it and felt like I was visualizing the next steps with me at the helm. “Be selfish?” – this should have been a clue to me that I was working for someone selfish but I was on the hook – a true believer.
A few things occurred that took me from confident and super proud of completing my project to feeling like I have complete disconnect between my perceptions and reality.
There were the series of Power Point and A3 presentations that were oh so urgent, but never ever used. It seemed like a friday afternoon special to clear the deck and work on a detailed presentation for the executive meeting – and yet it never got presented.
The lists of data that I needed to request from other groups only to perform data analytics on them to slice and dice data over and over again for the Power Point and A3 presentations that never got used.
I also got extra “help” from temporary employees who were able to do some data entry but needed a lot of supervision and attention. Neither of them had any experience working in an office and both have serious attendance and attitude problems. My work is project management without much in the way of daily task lists. There were no standard operating instructions so I had to set aside my work to find appropriate tasks for them and write instructions and monitor them. And I got to receive unprofessional emails and comments from them on a daily basis.
I stepped up and bit my tongue and produced the results all for the promise of promotion – the dangling carrot. I also got approval to travel for a training and meet several people including consultants and trade lawyers that I had worked with for the past year and get into detail on next steps.
I worked on my vacation days, sacrificed personal time, came in sick and I’m not proud to admit that I brought my anger and frustration home.
As it turned out I finished the project, got a modest bump in pay, and before I could enjoy it and use my hard-earned time off – I got moved to the department that was the most obstenant to my project. My former boss insists that this is great for me and that I should be happy about it. A Promotion? you may ask – I can be the fixer promoted to kick ass and take names? Nope. As my reward after getting my company into a better place I was moved like an object with no input whatsoever. I cried at work which is something I have managed to avoid for most of my tenure. I couldn’t see an upside. I felt angry and helpless like being in a dream where you scream and no sound comes out. I remain seated in my old department feeling like an outsider – excluded from the group but sitting in a different building than my new department. Every day I have to face the manager that I considered a friend and mentor who lied to me and knew this was all coming for months. New manager, no raise, no title, no travel or training, no idea what the new management wants me to do or if I will be developing processes or being dictated to – and now HR and my new manager refer to the temps as “my team”.
How did I get last picks in every round of this draft? Why am I expected to be a leader with no title, authority or compensation? If I am running the show let me find people that are qualified and engaged – don’t give me inexperienced people who don’t want to work in this industry and just want a job – any job.
Why did I get outright lied to and led to believe that I would get sent to the training? When exactly did I become a commodity?
This has been a rant and I apologize. I really try to avoid complaining about work because it is a bore to hear it. I had to let it go and hopefully stop brooding about it. I want to let it go and be fresh and remember that my brand is accurate, nimble, resourceful determined problem-solver. I’m reliable and loyal and occasionally witty. If I decide to leave it will be with my head held high knowing that I was honoring my values and my brand.
I have had a few weeks to process the change and go through the vast range of emotions that hit me. I have read several books on change and managing people and getting from where you are to where you want to be. I have written in my journal, Visualized and fear set. On my white board I have drawn a carrot on a string and on my inner office wall I have a picture of Lebron James’ shoes with a few letters reminding me to distance myself and remember what is good for me. Jack Canfield, Brené Brown, Tim Ferriss, Susan David, Tony Robbins, and Kimberly Snyder have all expanded my horizons and opened me up to possibility and positivity.
I am still unsettled. It doesn’t feel right – I need a paycheck but I also need to be true to myself. I am taking that to mean that this change is against the grain of my soul and that I need to pivot. I’m not sure what that means but I can picture something better and I am willing to go for it because I deserve success and happiness.
Thanks for reading –
~ Stay Feisty