Thursday, August 13, 2015

Now that i had quit my job and was in the process of colelcting all my stuff before taking the final bow, i thought i would pore over some of my old emails....though i've never been a big fan of forwarding email jokes, management related spoofs, there was one, about two years old, that i came across the other day. I felt very interested in reading each and every wor dof that email with a lot of attention cos it appeared that the contents of the email applied, word by word, to my current situation...I think it applies to a lot of us, particularly when we think we had enough at the current job and the MBA dream keeps reminding us of what we are missing out.

Here is that email...most of you may have already read but in case you did not, it would be a good reminder of how many of us find ourselves thrown into the situation desribed here and show the exact same symptoms before we FINALLY DECIDE TO QUIT....

When your grandmother asks "Would you like some bread, honey?" you're most likely to say: "Yes, please" or "No, thanks."
You're not likely to do what I did once: burst into tears.
That incident was one sign I had stayed too long at a job where I logged countless hours doing work that paid far more in stress than money. The other was the recurring thought that if I were hit by a bus I would regret how I spent my last months on earth.

I finally quit, but that's the last time I'll wait for such a dramatic breaking point to take my leave.
"People think the time to leave is when things become unbearable, or is a function of the time you've been there. It's not," said Dory Hollander, a career coach, workplace psychologist and author of "The Doom-Loop System." 

For the sake of comparison, here's how Hollander defines being satisfied with your job: you can see yourself in three or four years still liking your work, you like the company culture and your coworkers, and the job isn't interfering unduly with the rest of your life. (And no, "unduly" doesn't mean having to show up every day.)

With that, here are some telling signs that you should start thinking about making an exit – or at least pursue more rewarding opportunities at the same company.
You have a lot on your mind, just not work. 

The work doesn't challenge you and time hangs. "Boredom is a big factor," Hollander said. "When it's just a job, it's time to leave."

Things change, not to your advantage. The boss you got along with so well leaves, or worse, takes on a new favorite employee. Eventually that person gets layered in above you on the corporate ladder, intercepting your access to the boss, taking over plum projects and moving you out of the decision-making loop.

Hollander describes this as "death by a thousand cuts."

The change is subtle at first, but your loss of status compounds over time.

Your boss takes you for granted.

You do something well and you get pigeonholed as the company expert in that area. Or you're no longer seen as having potential for new projects. Or, just as bad, you're known as the good corporate citizen who'll do whatever you're asked – including relocating multiple times.

You pigeonhole yourself. 

Hollander knows top performers who stay at their jobs because they don't believe they could succeed elsewhere. "The longer you're at a place, the more you think your success depends on your environment," she said. Or you lose confidence that you can do anything else.

Your mood ranges from angry to angrier. 

No matter how well-regarded your work is or once was, if you develop a reputation as a depressing crank, colleagues will distance themselves. And that isolation can make you more vulnerable in a layoff.

You feel like hell. 

Unhappiness can undermine your health, said Paul Spector, professor of industrial and organizational psychology at the University of South Florida. Early signs of excess stress: stomachaches, headaches and insomnia.

After a long time (nearly 2 months) I came across an interesting post by one of the student bloggers here. I was actually drawn by a portion of that post where one of the founders of the firm (Kravis-Kohlberg-Roberts) George Roberts gave some tips that resonated with my experiences of the last 3 months at my current job.

Here it is for anyone who wants to care -

“I’m often asked by people, especially younger people, what do you have to do to be successful. And I assume they’re asking not what you have to do to make money, but what do you have to do to be a successful individual. Coming out here, I jotted down several examples that I’d like to share with you.

  • “You’ve got to work hard at whatever you do. So if you’re going to work hard and put everything you have into what you’re doing, you better find a job and a career that you love to do, because if you don’t you have no chance. 

  • “Set your goals. Set goals that are unrealistic in some cases. Be prepared to be disappointed. One of the goals I set for myself when I came to Culver was to get into Yale. I got turned down. One of the goals I set for myself when I graduated from CMC was to get into either Stanford Law School or Stanford Business School. I got turned down. Set your goals high; reach, that way you improve our muscle tone. Don’t be afraid to fail. Our society won’t penalize you if you fail honorably, and by that I mean with integrity and honesty. Everyone who has done anything in life has failed at something. And there will be nobody in this room who is any different.

  • “Keep a sense of humor, that’s probably the most important thing. Be prepared to laugh at yourself a little bit, your mistakes. And when things really get tight and tense and everything else, laugh a little bit.

  • “Keep a perspective of what’s really important. For me, that’s been my health, the health of my family, and those intangible things that don’t involve material objects.
    “Raise a family, because that’s the only way you’re going to learn to love somebody or some group more than yourself.

  • “Rely on yourself with both your brain and your heart. Don’t blame others for the mistakes that happen. Learn from them yourself and go on.

  • “And lastly, help others that are less strong and less fortunate than yourself, because you will get back many, many, many fold what you have done for yourself.”

All of it, and i mean every word of it, is a gem.
Has it happened to anyone ? i.e. has anyone, after having failed with Integrity and Honesty at a given firm (in consulting, i suppose one can find million examples), looked back at what he/she went through, realized that "the "show goes on, no matter what", and then answered himself/herself that what he/she did was indeed the right thing to do, no matter whether he/she failed to get others to see the point.
I'm going through one such experience and it does not feel like i have answered the demons that are haunting - i'm quitting my job cos i felt that in the past couple of months i faced situations where i had to choose between the "smart thing" and the "right thing". I chose the latter. I feel good about it.
But some where it is indeed very frustrating to know that while everyone says i was correct in my decision, no one seems to be willing to say/accept publicly that choosing the "right thing" over the "smart thing " is indeed needed in organizations of today.
Why do so many of us propagate such B.S as long as it is intended for the "other person"?
Why do we always advocate "smart things, compromises even when it involves the very same lofty visions, ethics that we all endorse and pitch in public fora ??
Is it naivete to expect one to be true to his/her own self?
I'm not sure if "failing with Honesty and Integrity" is ever going to be championed by anyone as a decision that is necessary sometimes or if the society that we live and work in, ever recognizes those who have failed with honesty and integrity as having done the good thing in their own right, but i will heed to George's other advice.