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I love working but am being demotivated and demoralised - what to do?(10 Posts)
I've namechanged so please don't out me if you recognise me! I feel very low about all of this and want some encouragement/advice.
I love working. I couldn't wait to get to get out in to the workforce as a teen, went back to university, again, couldn't wait to get out and work. I'm a grafter, pure and simple. Bored sensless on ML.
I am currently working as a technical PM for an international company for an international client - someone you probably use on a daily basis.
I have 30-40 project deliverables a month. I come from a programming background but have always been a better organiser than programmer. Since taking on this role the workload has increased in terms of singular projects and now I'm responsible for the financial forecasting of these, audits, operational plans etc., etc. and so forth. Can I just re-iterate that's FORTY per calendar month.
When I took on the role no financials were done, come April this year we got a new bean-counter in who took control and taught me (first "on the job" training I've had for this role) how to do it.
I have had no formal training and no guidance - I am pretty much ignored by the people I need information from - e.g., "when's your production date? whaddya mean you shifted it? Why didn't you tell me? Did you get approval? From whom?". I can't get a straight answer on time-planning and the engineers who'll be used to implement the work, but bugger it - I try and my forecasting is usually within 1-2k a month!
A few weeks ago I came to the end of my tether and sent head of development an email saying "I'm sorry to escalate, but you did say to do so blah blah". He sent an email on the saturday saying "good job". Monday I fielded a whole barrage of abuse from managers higher up than me who'd been "talked to". Tuesday I called a meeting with my direct manager to ask for support, mostly along the lines of "how to remain diplomatic but get results" type thing.
He then dropped the bombshell that the bloke who'd mailed me on saturday "wanted me out". My jaw dropped and I cried. I'd like to say that it was because I'm pregnant but I was absolutely gutted. I'd had no warning at all. I told my client yesterday and she couldn't believe it - she doesn't understand what I could've done "wrong" either.
I spent the next week pushing for when/replacement/what next type thing - yesterday I got called in to another meeting (I initiated) with my new manager (yep, replaced in two weeks also). She said "yep, he wants you out 31st October" - not out of the company or the account, but out of Project Management. And I fucking cried again.
Now if I'm doing a really shit job I want to know. I want to know where my warnings are/were. Why was none of this raised at my performance review in June? I went armed with a sheaf of papers to discuss my progress with my manager.
The irony is I kicked off in a big way at work about 6 weeks ago to the big, big boss and explained lack of support/direction etc. And now this.
I'm sorry this has been such a long and epic post but I'm thoroughly dishearted. I don't know what to do for the best anymore. I feel like my best intentions are being thwarted and I genuinely love to work. I've got an IQ of 150 so honestly, I'm not punching above my weight iyswim.
I got to thinking I was paranoid about two senior managers in particular and then I found out last week that I'm not - they've fucked over quite a few people.
I should add, they can't actually just get rid of me, such is my contract that they couldn't push me out of the door until June 2013. Even so, I don't want to leave - I want to bloody work and I want to progress!
I have been up since 2am crying on and off (working from home this morning). I am feeling frustrated and angry. I feel so ambitious but right now I just don't know which way to turn.
Lack of support at work is devastating no matter what your IQ. Is there a union you can talk to for support? They normally understand the processes and habits in your company very well, they can give you the practical guidance you need and also make you feel there is someone in your corner so you're not fighting a lonely battle.
Work isn't about IQ. It's about managing relationships - smoothing feathers and kicking people up the butt without pi55ing them off and without killing yourself in the process. Business is not nice. You have to look after yourself because believe me no one else is going to!
Take a step back and breathe. They cannot legally get rid of you without going through some sort of formal procedure. Start keeping a diary of everything that is happening and print out and take home any relevant emails every night.
Someone else will be along with good advice shortly.
OK, before you got on to the bit about the manager wanting you out etc, it sounded pretty much like the life of a P.M (I'm one too.) it's frustrating and difficult to get the balance right between being assertive and still keeping on everyone's good side. To be honest, I'll still to learning that lesson til the day I retire.
The rest of your post sounds like a massive overreaction on the part of these people. I was sort of in a similar situation where I was being asked to manage people much higher up than myself in the standard PM matrix structure and that is the trickiest one of all. I've found, in my experience, the higher up you get, the bigger the stakes. I.e they get hired and fired a lot at VP, or SVP level, so they probably do not think they are being unreasonable. It can get very ego driven at that level, so you've probably bruised an ego somewhere and he feels the need to hit back. Politics and all that. Nothing to do with the work you do or you abilities.
It's difficult to know what to advise, probably get support, and the right people to support you at the highest level possible. You have my sympathies.
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flowermonkey seems to have hit the nail on the head. Work is all about relationships. I'm sorry to say there are a lot of people who are very bored with their work but stuck. Keeping a diary is useful if staff around you are playing dirty. Have a look at an NLP course. I haven't been on one - but have a friend who says it has transformed her working relationships and she's doing very well now. She was in a similar situation as you a few years ago.
I just read your post again, OP. What's happening?
The workplace is a very testing place to be sometimes especially if you are dealing with lots of alpha males. To succeed, you do need to control your emotions and think before you speak. If something happens and I really want to shout at someone I have a rule that I go home, sleep on it and broach the situation when I calm. I don't point the finger. I just say something along the lines of, "This isn't working very well me. I wondered if we could try X Y Z. What do you think?".
It could just be that your face doesn't it. Don't take it personally. It happens to us all at some point or another. Most managers aren't interested in supporting someone they consider isn't the right person for the job. They just want them out! Personally, I would play the game, cover your arse, diarise everything and start formulating a plan should it all go tits up.
Crikey, loads of typos! Long day at the orifice myself...
hello again. Thank you for all your comments so far.
The IQ thing seems to have put some backs up and it was/is a total "red herring", I suppose behind that is a lurking thought that perhaps I ought to be on Dragon's Den or something, carving an empire - although I don't have one solitary clever idea of something to sell!
I thoroughly agree it's about building relationships - and, generally, this is where I have excelled in the past. Within my organisation (300k worldwide), the head of EMEA knows me personally, the IT director, etc., etc. At the same time the receptionists, coffee machine re-fillers et al also know my name. Not always in the "oh fucking her again way either". But as far as these internal relationships going, I have a direct responsibility to deliver on 40 a month, but I don't have any authorisation for holding resources and larger and "more glamorous" projects over-rule mine.
Things have become clearer and murkier since Wednesday morning. The man whom I thought was at the heart of this it appears is merely a pawn, it's the other Big White Chief who thinks he's running things. I had a minor showdown with his team Wednesday evening when I called them up on an "illegal process" (i.e., doing work without a PO but will be booked under a different project) - as flowermonkey said, I knew this would blow up, but I needed to cover my back. I cannot risk this blowing up in a month or so and me being bollocked for it not going through the books and no documented evidence of work done/system changes/etc.
I have spoken to many more people at the office without divulging x, y and z to all and sundry but it appears that this man has not taken on 2 people to "bully" but instead has about 20 on the go right now - that's some ball juggling he's doing. So, in a sense I'm taking a back seat - others can go for the jugular and from what I see it would appear more than one person who should be seeing it, is realising that the Emperor is nekkid!
It very much is personal it appears, he's pulling the strings to say "get him/her out" and then hiring in people from elsewhere - e.g., he wants a PL/SQL developer right now, yet he's just "got rid" of an OCP! It's at the point now where we're joking "did I hit his car in the carpark?", "did I shag his wife?".
I still am no further on finding out exactly where or what I've done "wrong" and I've been quite pushy about this. I've demanded that I see a paper-trail of evidence showing warning(s)/improvement plans/documented failure/bad work reviews etc. because I will be damned if it's going in my file that I failed in this role.
Meanwhile I was given a new PM to work with who would share/take on my role. He is commuting 2 hours each way and his family life is taking a battering. He told me it's unlikely he'll be around past the end of the month. So, if I'm out 31st Oct and he won't be here - I wonder who will actually do this work?
I go on ML in January so there is light at the end of the tunnel, however, being "off work" is not a solution for me. I want to work and I want to know that I'm coming back to something good.
I actually had a second interview yesterday for a role outside of this particular poisonous account and I'm unsure how it went. The first one was brilliant, yesterday I was raked over the coals by the US arm. At least I didn't say anything daft through nerves which frequently happens.
I also met with my new people manager yesterday (fgs will just ONE person take responsibility please?) who said he'd look in to it all.
Today I am working from home and come 5 the laptop will be switched off.
Sorry, long and rambling again - but it's nice to get it all out!
You sound quite intense! Maybe that is what is bothering people? TBH, you can be fabulous at your job from a technical perspective (and it sounds as if you are, and as if you take great pride in your skill set) and yet be quite annoying to be around.
The IQ thing hasn't got my back up but in my experience (and that's MY experience) people who are highly intelligent can be slightly detached. We have a Doctor in our department, early 60s, highly experienced and respected in his field. However, he has the emotional intelligence of a gnat. I actually quite like him but he upsets people on a regular basis as he is 'always' right and unable to take on board other viewpoints. He is also oblivious to what people really think of him.
It does sound like quite a toxic environment and, from what you say, your cards are marked. I personally wouldn't fight it. It will be a waste of your time and energy. You would be far better to concentrate on an exit plan either to another department or company. This is a message to move on. Nothing lasts forever.
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