I met today with the head of Digital Marketing to discuss job opportunities. It was suggested to me I should speak to him by a member of his team. I’ve been working closely with him on a project, and he knows I’m unhappy. So I arranged a coffee meeting offsite.
I get on pretty well this guy generally, though we have clashed. I wrote about one of those circumstances a little while ago. We’re both straight-shooters and prefer robust conversation and so never a big deal, no matter how others portrayed it. He’s dynamic and has ideas and doesn’t mind rocking the boat, and this is a boat that needs rocking. We’re in accord with a lot of things.
So he knows pretty well ahead of time what I want. We have a general conversation about my situation before I go into specifics. Basically I feel underutilised and often undermined. I don’t have the authority a position like mine requires and am sidelined quite often for reasons that generally amount to petulance or politics.
He’s upfront that he thinks I’m an excellent operator and would like me onside. He understands my frustrations but recommends I should make some tactical withdrawals occasionally. I know myself that when I get going, I tend to skewer people, which is not always to my benefit – I just get so exasperated sometimes and yes, disdainful too. A lot of that comes with personal frustration given the role I have, but he has a point.
He recommends I speak to the big boss. He suggests I pitch an argument parlaying my recent, very heavy involvement with Digital, which is likely to continue for a while yet. Basically he suggests that I sell myself as an interface between Ops and Digital, reporting to Ops still, but embedded within Digital.
It makes sense in multiple ways. Firstly, regardless of what my job description says, I work well beyond the narrow confines of that, and with a very heavy trend towards digital, which is reflective of trends generally. Secondly, though I’m servicing Ops, my role is externally facing simply because I rely upon other teams, people, departments to get things done. I can the ideas, but there are very few I can implement solo. I need to be in the market, and one of the issues is that I’m kept from it. Finally, Digital has a lot more muscle than Ops, and by associating myself with them, we can leverage their influence.
Proposing this has some risks. For a start, I’m sure it will further piss off my manager, who these days is generally prickly to start with (to the extent that it threatens to become untenable). If I pitch this and it fails, then I may burn my bridges with her.
On balance I think there’s a good chance that the big guy will go for some variation of it as really he can only benefit. I do a lot of stuff for him, and he’s relying on me for a lot. I’m proposing taking that and giving it a boost. He might have to cough up some extra dollars (I certainly hope so), but this is the opportunity to get some real traction. Obviously, if he takes this and seeks feedback from the Digital Manager, he’ll get the big thumbs up.
I’m sure the DM is sincere in wanting to assist me, but I’m under no illusion that it’s a set-up which he would benefit from as well. If this gets adopted, then he extends his influence through me, whilst also gaining the benefit of my skillset within his team. In actual fact, if it is agreed to, I doubt it will be as pure as that, but we’ll see.
I’ve arranged a meeting with the big guy on Wednesday to discuss this. Hopefully, we find out then.