…and anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
That is actually a quote from the princess bride movie.
Life isn’t fair. If it was, I dare say that most of us would not accomplish much and be content with the status quo. Sometimes it would be great to be content with the status flow. Thankfully, we don’t stay there…or shouldn’t.
Work has taken more out of me than I had thought. It has wounded my spirit and crippled my mind. It has an incapacitating effect on the soul, but at the same motivates it to stretch and hope for something better.
Perhaps I’ve taken my experience too hard. Or, perhaps I’m a crazy lady going through a hormonal period of life. Or, perhaps there is something really wrong at work.
It is time for me to write down a few things and perhaps it will becoming clearer.
In 2003, I was called out of the blue about a position doing what I do where I do it. I had never heard of this place before, but it sounded interesting and it sounded like a place where I could practice what I had learned in graduate school. I was right. It was the perfect place to practice, I got a good raise and really enjoyed working with the team of co-workers.
After a year and a half of developing, reviewing, leading and growing, I applied to a position in the government. I was experienced in the world of work, experienced in the specific requirements for the job and found out secretly that I received the highest score of the applicants. I was pulled in after the interview process to see if I would take a different job than the one posted. It was better with more management responsibility. I went from turning down a job offer from Bearing Point (which would be managing projects as well) to accepting a job at my current place of employment. It was a smart short term move.
I walked into the job right when all the products went into a new system. Luckily, I knew that system and tried my hardest to learn and to simplify business processes and approaches. My boss spent a day or two giving me information about the job, but otherwise I was on my own. I went in to ask questions only when I needed to gather information that hadn’t been shared or to provide possible solutions and get approval when I needed to step forward on certain projects. I had thought I’d get a little more help, but I do happen to thrive on being trusted.
At one point I was managing over 40 projects at once and in one year we got over 70 online products live. Before I came on, there had only been about 5-10 a year and it just exploded. Note – I didn’t think this was smart, but a lot of people came to us to create these products and our leadership isn’t great at saying “No” or asking “Why are we doing this?”
Over the last four years on the job, a few of the things that I’ve been involved in include:
- Streamlining development processes
- Updating checklists and job aids that support the processes.
- Providing resources to contractors (even when they weren’t performing well) to help them understand our vague requirements.
- Collecting all source files and documentations from obscure computers, drives, etc. and making sure they were all uploaded in a knowledge management/content management architecture in an online content management system so all could access the files in one central location. Plus, not having to worry when people left our organization or if their computer decided to fry.
- Constantly simplifying processes.
- Empowering contractors to take responsibility for their work.
- Empowering contractors with responsibilities and not acting like they reported to me, but rather we were teammates working together.
- Developing a wiki to share all of the information from my head about the process.
- Developing a blog to give up to date information about what is going on in my world and projects while also sharing some helpful tips that might not be general knowledge.
- Worked with tons and tons of SMES from different organizations that were helping us create product.
- Worked with tons of contractors that were trying to develop products for us to host on our systems.
- Created a massive spreadsheet containing all the applicable information for each project. At some point it will be turned into a database.
- Created a product request process and designed web pages that supported it.
- Created pages in the Intranet, the portals, the tools – an early adopter at trying out the new products and implementing them strategically in our environment.
- Being honest with my boss and addressing issues that I thought would help us work better than smarter.
Do I need to add more?
Why am I writing all of this here? It demonstrates that I was actively engaged in my job. It demonstrates that I didn’t just show up everyday, but tried to really improve and do it better.
Why does that matter?
It matters because it is burning me right now. It is hurting my chances of progressing. I think people are intimidated by all of this. I think I might have been too bold. I might have made others feel inferior. Part of it could have been my personality, but part of it is that I’m working with people that aren’t progressing themselves. So, they perceive me as a threat.
The other burning part of this right now is that there are some young blood available that are willing to say “yes” and work hard, not smart. They cost less, they wear less, and they will play all sides (double agent approach) to get what they want. They could be burning me behind the scenes for all I know.
Right now I haven’t been able to figure out if anything immoral is going on, but I will say a few things that know are happening:
- Drinks taking place after work hours between middle aged government men and very young single/married contractor girls at the low end of the pay scale.
- Lunches between government men and very young single/married contractors girls. Note: these same men never go out to eat with any of the government women whom they actually work with on a daily basis.
- Young single/married girls applying to jobs they aren’t qualified for. (We all do this, but usually exercise caution when we are applying to positions in the same environment that we already work in since it could be a big black eye if it goes wrong) This typically means a few things – the person is confident they will get it despite the lack of qualification (personal promise, personal relationship with someone) or they are stupid.
- Inappropriate outfits being worn in the office.
- Young single/married girls bi-passing their boss and acting as a personal service to the client, even when their own boss has told them to go through her for these ad hoc requests.
- Claiming skills that aren’t had, but reacting quickly to client responses whether or not they should.
- Working overtime for the client because they don’t want them to be mad at them and thus putting the entire contract at risk. In other words, being reactive and not smartly responsive. I have a prior posting about this.
Should I go on? No, I will not, but you get the picture.
Some think that inappropriate relations are taking place. I have a feeling some might even be from people that I drive with sometimes. I’m careful about what I say now. It seems that people are playing people on multiple angles.
It has been killing my soul and my boyfriend is teaching me how to not take this personally. If I were willing to drop my values lower, it might temporarily help me. Alas, that has never been an option. I’m not interested in doing that, especially for such a place. How repulsing and how repulsing are the people that will think and act that way.
Luckily, this will be a life changing experience for me. It is wrenching my soul in so many different ways, but out of it has come faith, hope, motivation and new ideas.
I’m acting on some of them this weekend. Here I go.
My goal is to be in a new job by July 1st. Wish me luck!