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Work rant - "You didn't hear about the polar bear?"
April 10th, 2005
01:46 pm

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Work rant
Cut for work wank/ranting, which I'll probably just delete later:

Just... having doubts, anger, insecurity about work and myself. Trying to figure out what to believe and what not to believe.

Had a talk with my boss Friday. Still trying to figure out last year, and what it means about me, my strengths, my weaknesses, my career, my growth.

See, I've got a PhD and years of experience, and started a new job at the beginning of last year at a new company, after my old one closed down. I tend to suffer from low self-esteem, and I think I've made some progress on it. I came into the new position and trained on procedures etc. for most of the first 3 months because the group that was supposed to be re-organized into 3 groups from the 2 current ones had not yet re-organized. Then, as soon as I started as a leader, with a group of almost all new people (all of whom, I later found out, hated one of the other leaders, a woman, because she was very negative and domineering), I found out that, as part of the re-organization, each of the 3 leaders now reported into different sections(!), and in my section, they hadn't picked a boss yet (!), so I had no boss (!).

I'm being told now by my new boss, after I told him this that (and keep in mind that I like this guy, but I think he's taking an overly simplistic view) I should have A) known better than to take this job in the first place (huh? why?!) because it was obviously a bad situation (?!) and B) gone out and demanded a boss when I ended up without one. Ummm... and who would I have demanded that of? *L*! The next level of "command" was over in another site! And, to be honest, I quite liked not having a boss. I knew what needed to be done to get the group going.

Only problem was... I assumed that the other female leader and the male leader would be cooperative and supportive. Turns out the male leader just stayed out of everything while the other female leader started talking up her group and talking down mine (!). And, unfortunately, this is behind my back. At the same time, she stirred up our Quality organization to come down hard on anything they found - and, ours being a group with a lot of new people, we did make mistakes.

Damn, see? I'm ranting, and it just sounds like whining. Dammit! I spoke with my new boss, because I needed somebody with an objective view, but what I heard from him was that, with one hand I should have trained my group and gotten them going (which I did do), while with my other hand I should have held back the female group leader (how?), with my third hand held back Quality (on my own? with them being egged on by my colleague?), with my fourth hand worked to get a new boss (who? who from? my reporting relationship changed 4 times in one year, and we were re-organized twice), with my fifth hand improved all the systems (which I did try to do), and with my sixth hand worked on PR to impress all the high up bosses. All this with no support from a boss, no attention from higher up, and no support from my two fellow leaders? Dammit - I got my folks trained and working in a brand new paradigm, stood up to the fellow leader who kept trying to change the setup, stood up to Quality, and tried to open up talks with my clients. By the fourth quarter (having only had the group full going from the beginning of the third quarter), we were into a groove and I was ready to start making real improvements - when they replaced me with the person who is now my boss, and gave him more people. He's excellent - but he's also been in THIS company for 15 years (similar to my seniority), and comes in now that the changes are over and we're working well. And knows ahead of time about the ambitious, nasty team leader I've had to deal with. AND came in at a time when there's now an officially sanctioned backlash against overly rigorous quality. AND we now have a boss over all of us to lend him support.

So I do resent his saying that I should have been able to do all of the things mentioned above. With the situation as it was, I think I did a pretty damn fine job - and I didn't resort to the kinds of behaviors the other team leader did. Plus, I treated my people with respect and encouraged them to do their best, rather than tearing them down, as their former supervisor did. However, the higher-ups came away saying that we weren't up to par, that there was too much in-fighting (and who's fault was that?), without talking to us or looking at the data that showed we were doing fine. I'm pissed off. I can see now a couple of things I could have done... but, to be honest, I would have had to be a genius to think of them and do them at the time, with everything that was going on. I should have found some of the higher-ups and schmoozed them (*shudder*)... but I don't agree with everything my boss is doing. He just agrees with everything the other leader says... and says he's "keeping notes". I can't do that. I've got to talk to the person directly and try to work it out; otherwise it feels underhanded. Dammit... I feel like I've been doing everything right... but it's coming out wrong. And the most frustrating thing is that I can see the cynical, political types, the tough types, nodding their heads and saying "see? you have to play the game!". I don't want to play the game. I want to do my work. And a big part of that may be that I'm scared that I just don't have what it takes to play the game.

Okay, I'm sure none of this made any sense, but I just had to get it out. And now I'm supposed to prove myself by taking on a DIFFERENT role than the one I was hired for and supposedly do brilliant stuff in the lab. Well, it's been a long time since I was in the lab, and I just don't have any brilliant ideas. And I'm frustrated. And angry. And tired of apparently being so blind to everything that's going on. And tired of not one person looking at what I have done, and done right, and giving me credit for it.

So that's my rant. Like I said, I'll probably read it tonight and decide it sounds like so much whining and delete it. See you all later.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:singeaddams
Date:April 10th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Sounds to me like they're criticizing you because your life is NOT your work. Play the 'game?' Who cares? You do your job, you do it well (obviously, or you wouldn't be in such a responsible position in the first place) and you go home. Who has time for shallow political mind-games?

Just do the best you can and the petty drama will take care of itself.
[User Picture]
From:rosamundeb
Date:April 10th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Good to hear. That's exactly the way I've been handling it all year; it's the only way I can keep sane. And if I had my choice, it's what I would keep on doing. Now, however, they're asking me to pull a rabbit out of a hat - and that's something I'm not good at! I guess you're right, though - I could worry about it and worry about it and drive myself crazy, or I could just go and do it, and if I fail, I fail. I just don't have the desire to push myself into a breakdown trying to impress them by doing something that is really just a dog and pony show. Thanks.
[User Picture]
From:singeaddams
Date:April 10th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
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'Soitenly!
[User Picture]
From:rosamundeb
Date:April 10th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
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*ggl*

Was that Curly of the Three Stooges I just heard? *G*

"Look at the grouse! Look at the grouse!" *L*!
[User Picture]
From:singeaddams
Date:April 11th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
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WOOBwoobwoobwoob!!
[User Picture]
From:rosamundeb
Date:April 11th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
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"Why I'll moiderize ya!" *ggl*
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From:cyloran
Date:April 10th, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
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Oh, gawd. Is there no escaping office politics and people who know so much better than everyone else? Sheesh. You do your job, you do it well, and you try to play well with others. I've found that, in my Firm, a lot of the attorneys don't understand why I don't want to climb the corporate ladder and step on people beneath me. Why don't I believe in dog-eat-dog? It's the game!

F**k that. I just want to go in, do my job, get my paycheck and go home where my real life is.

It doesn't sound like whining, hon. It sounds like a very frustrating situation for you and one with very few options. *hugs you*
[User Picture]
From:rosamundeb
Date:April 10th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
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"You do your job, you do it well, and you try to play well with others."

Good philosophy - and thanks! ((((((((((hugs)))))))))
[User Picture]
From:spookystoy
Date:April 11th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC)
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F**k that. I just want to go in, do my job, get my paycheck and go home where my real life is.

I second that!

[User Picture]
From:freakspawn
Date:April 13th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
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Oh I thought I had responded to this!

I think the offloading onto you that has been done over the last year is attrocious! And the way you have handled everything is brilliant. This seems like Office Politics gone mad!

Hope things work out for you very soon, and sorry I can't offer any real advice!
[User Picture]
From:rosamundeb
Date:April 13th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
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Afraid "brilliant" isn't the word for it... and it may just be "life as it is" - something I need to learn the skills to navigate. But thanks - ((((((((hugs))))))))).
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