I have accepted a new role, a promotion, and I’ve negotiated to start on Monday 13th April. Initially we talked about 30th March, but with a Phuket holiday over the Easter weekend and into the next week, it made sense to hold off starting until I was ‘there for good’.
So I have three weeks of ad hoc tasks. I’m back in the office – as in, my own office?! Weird, given I’ll be paid less than the guy outside my door… but it’s only temporary, and I have to admit, it’s sorta nice :p There’s still the stretched canvas print of the Brooklyn Bridge I brought at a thrift store to brighten the boring walls!
I can’t begin to tell you the change to my mindset and general ‘feel’ about work since moving back. Sunday night blues were a little more of a ‘nice’ blue. The 5:30am alarm was less painful – I took it upon myself to take as long as it needed to prep for work (no rushing for the half hourly express). I then walked to a station two stops further away, as a fitness option. A nice cool morning too, so I wasn’t all hot and bothered.
I did have to visit the far away office, and collect my boxes (two) and uniforms (three containers – a bag and two milk crates or so worth!). Safety gears more excessive in space taking that reference paperwork, who’d have thought! Driving north, I ground myself down, and thought of how OVER IT I am/was/are!? I mean, being in Hornsby meant questions, hand overs, where am I going now? I just wanna hide! It’s not yet ‘signed on the dotted line’ so I’m not prepared to announce my new role widely, lest anything go wrong…
So, I’m spending some time thinking about what made me come to resent the role and the position, so I can plan and prepare for my new role. I want to be ready to ‘manage the manager’ so I feel good about the job I do, rather than feeling like the boss always wants more, and what I’ve done is never enough… I suppose that’s a point in and of itself – I need my achievements to be recognised, and not in the breath before asking for something more. At the core, I want to be trusted to be able to do my job, that I will try my hardest and do my best. That I’m not a slacker – and if I take a liberty of an hour here or there for personal issues, it will truly be nothing compared to what I do give. I have really felt like I’ve needed to justify every minute of every day in the past six months, and I still never felt like it was enough. That sucks…
How do you, my wise readers, deal with the above? That sense of defeat? Lack of appreciation?
8 Replies to “Limbo at work”
Well, I’m glad it wasn’t just Hornsby that got you down. Sounds like a micromanaging manager. Depending on the individual, there are ways of dealing with such a manager. So I won’t give you direct advice here. I’ve seen some interesting ways others have done it, including micromanaging up. One person kept responding with emails of micromanagement with tonnes of questions asking how to each step was the preferred way to be done. Then, when challenged, directly raised the issue of trust and micromanagement.
For me it is about personal relationships. And being open. I’ve told one of my bosses to back off with emails and directions. Another I’ve told I need more positive affirmation without being in the context of more work. Of course, I pick my moment and tone. The latter was done in humour and when things weren’t hectic. And when the boss later gave me complements and then directions, and then said, “Oh sorry” I let him know it was OK and I didn’t mean this for every time.
When I told one boss to back off, it was direct and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. No humour involved. And he had just taken over as my boss. The relationship did develop positively after that. I was actually advised not to take him on. But I knew I had many years of him being my boss and I couldn’t stand that level of micromanagement and lack of trust and lack of emotional understanding to continue.
Anyway, good luck and well done with the promotion. You are a strong, creative woman. And will go far.
Weird, I never thought of this person as a micromanager – having had others in my past that were a little more 'present' – so perhaps add that to my list of 'would rather' – a boss who is face to face a bit for those "not that important, but I'd like to check with you" sorts of questions…
Thanks for all the different options you took – interestingly for the next three weeks I'm working under a boss I've worked for before, and I'm better attuned to using humour to let him know what works and doesn't, such as saying along the lines of "you just tell me your opinion on it, so I can mimic it" as I've come to learn that's sometimes all I'm being asked for :p
I often wonder how my employees view me as a boss. I know I'm not over-demanding or mean, but I think I rely on them to communicate their issues to me, rather than initiating those conversations myself. And when things are going well, I sometimes "coast" rather than offering positive feedback. So I try to look at my management techniques (or lack thereof) and attempt continuous improvement. I also work with each employee individually because each person communicates differently and has a different work style. That sometimes leads to less team work. I definitely feel I'm a work in progress! All of my supervisors for the past 10 years have been hands-off and have trusted me to do my job. I'm not sure how I would cope otherwise. On the other hand, I have had to be deliberate about giving them updates of my activities, so they don't feel the need to keep checking on me. And sometimes, like you, I ask outright "Is this what you want?" or "What are the messages you want me to convey about this to my staff?" (i.e. what attitude do you want me to model?)
I spend a lot of time thinking about 'how I am as a boss' – mainly cause it's a more recent thing for me. i think I expect my staff to do work, but I don't micro manage. I do however 'help' and that could drive some people nuts. But I think if I got told 'I can handle it, if that's ok' I'd back RIGHT off…
I think this most recent manager hasn't been hands off – well I mean he's been absent, but is perhaps at heart a micromanager, and his last specialty/role was the same as mine. He's given my replacement a hard time too – so at least it's not solely personal.
I am so glad that the 'general vibe' sounds this much better after the move. It sounds like the perfect time to take stock, do a bit of career planning etc. Do you still have your Mentor available to thresh things out with?
I definitely hear what you are saying about trust. I have a fantastic boss at the moment, I think we share extremely similar work values so the relationship is very good. Lots of hands-off management and plenty of affirmation. This is easier when people seem to have a shared philosophy of how / what the workplace is.
But further down the 'chain of command' I have to deal with some real control freaks. I actively have to plan ahead how to avoid getting sucked in to this spiral because the power play of control can be such a 'thing' in itself – the lure of drama in the workplace – and it sucks away an incredible amount of energy that should be spent on work!
How excellent to have a trip to Phuket looming!
It is better after the move – it's a 'working holiday' in some regards! And I do have the mentor available, he gave me a book to read called "The first 90 days" which is perfect to read in the next few weeks – actually I've also borrowed some other management books for the 'break' to refine my thoughts on what sort of manager I want to be.
I think shared work styles can certainly help you gel well with your manager – but at the end of the day, it's trust that matters most!!
Phuket sounds exciting!
I hear you on the lack of trust! I had a boss who would only allow us to make up hours at set times when he was available (implying that we wouldn't actually be working unless he was there to supervise?). A large enough group of us complained that he relented, but little things like that add up! I hope you're enjoying your hodgepodge of tasks – does sound like a nice break from normal work activities.
Oh that SUCKS – I said to my team to email me when they got in for early starts, just so for the both of us (as I never got in before 7:30am) we'd have a record. Most of them were great at it – likewise for when they were running late or a last minute drama. I can only hope I was reasonable!?
I had a boss who always said hello to every person by name – I think it's probably something that was told to him once in a 360 feedback… it was a little tedious, but he meant well!