Bringing the walls down

So, last week caught up with my direct manager and after a bit of preamble spoke to her about what happens after I wrap up the project I’m on. I said I’d been in this job for over two years now and didn’t want to go back to what I was doing before. She said there was an opportunity ahead, though not until July, where there’ll be budget for a new function incorporating chat, social media, complain management, etc – basically all stuff I’ve either dome or designed processes for. Theoretically I’d be in the box seat to head it up.

At the back of my mind I’m thinking, and what happens for the rest of this financial year? – but she went on. You do great work, she said. The problem is that you’ve rubbed some people up the wrong way.

This is an old conversation she circles back to every time. I’ve come to think it’s her way of keeping me in my box. I understand in a way. I’m a forceful personality, generally sure of myself regardless who I’m speaking with. I also happen to be articulate and smart, and she’s trying to remind me you’re not perfect buster. Fair call, but I sense there’s something personal in it for her, as if those qualities in general are a threat to her.

Whatever the case I know there’s truth to what she says but, as I told her, I don’t really care.

I accept you’re never going to please everyone. I take the general view that if someone doesn’t like me it’s their problem. Of course, there are exceptions to that, but it’s generally the case – it’s no good going about worrying what people think of you. I’ve come from far more robust environments than this one. I’m never nasty or abusive. I don’t harass anyone. I never make it personal. As she admitted, the worst I get is a little gruff with some people. Part of that is a focused, direct way of dealing with things, which is much more common in the corporate environments I’ve been part of. No-one bats an eyelid there (never, in my experience), and are grown up enough to get on with things regardless.

This is the least professional organisation I’ve ever worked for, on top of which I’m working to the side of a contact centre, and I’m prepared to accept that the culture of such places is much different from the general cut and thrust of what I’m used to. The other factor, perhaps, is that the times are different now.

Whatever, as I told her, if I’m gruff with someone it’s generally no accident. There’s a bunch of people here I have no respect for because of how they treat their staff. I have no time for them so my interactions are purely business. I’ve no interest in being more than that, and would feel a hypocrite if I acted differently. It’s worth bearing in mind that one of those people has since been suspended after complaints from her staff – so I’m imagining this.

The other lot I’m gruff with are those standing in the way of things, the people who obfuscate and shirk responsibility, who don’t return calls or don’t do what they promise to do. Mostly they’re in IT, and many of them senior to me. I don’t take no for an answer, I keep going and I’ve no doubt it annoys some people but in the end it pays off. As I’ve told my manager previously, the best way to get things done is to do them (something many people could learn). I’ve got no problem with people who do their job – but if you’re being paid to do something and you don’t then you’re fair game.

As I pointed out to her for the millionth time, you expect me to get results but haven’t given me the authority to make it easy. I can either accept that or press on, but you can’t have it both ways. If I do great work it’s because I don’t relent.

All of this, regardless of my rationalisations, was disappointing. I felt boxed up again, and in fact, I’ve scheduled a meeting with HR to discuss it and put it on the table.

Beyond that I wonder where I’m heading here. I was given more encouragement yesterday from another source but it’s all terribly vague. The fact is I don’t like it here. It kills my vibe big time, especially when I’m trying my best to get things done and get frowned upon.

I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done on the project I’m on, but frustrated always that the work I do is far in advance of the salary I’m on. There’s not a day I don’t feel exploited, which is a big part of the problem. And then I’m frustrated that while I deliver a really good project I’m not let into the plans about where this is heading, even though it would make the job easier, and I don’t get a response to my many queries. Ultimately, I’m frustrated that while this has been good I can do so much more, but am never given the opportunity to show it. In the end it all feels pretty small, and so do I.

I know I don’t want to live like this. You get so many years and what you get is a gift that can’t be squandered. I’m lucky that I’ve been made smart and strong and willing and I can’t let it sour in me. I made a lot of it before. I explored a lot and learnt much. I was a goer. Here I keep running into walls. Unless the walls come down I have to find somewhere else, but all this I’ll discuss with HR first.

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