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Fix It Or Forget It?

November 14th, 2012

Even when the work, pay and/or location are desirable, the other conditions may not be.  When co-workers and their policies end up making your job more difficult, do you Fix It Or Forget It? See what Aidan* and Bridget* did.

Aidan* worked at a position that wasn’t his dream job, but it was reasonably good pay, challenging enough work and the people were nice to be around.  In this economy, he considered himself pretty lucky – particularly because the company was doing well.  He had been working there for a couple of years, and was planning to stay for the foreseeable future.

Early last year, though, someone new joined the staff in an adjacent department.  Although Aidan only worked with him peripherally, a great deal seemed to change.  Aidan’s manager gave significant control to this new supervisor, whose biggest contribution appeared to be bottleneck and gatekeeper.

Since this supervisor’s arrival, practically no projects moved forward without his stamp of approval.  This alone was frustrating enough, but he also showed favoritism – a game that Aidan was loathe to participate in.  Several others learned the “new rules” and played them better, leaving Aidan’s projects often at the end of the line.

Later, one of Aidan’s co-workers from another department was leaving the company, and he decided to have a farewell lunch with her – not only to say goodbye, but also to get some pointers on how to work better with this new manager.  She seemed to have gotten along with him better than anyone else.

During lunch, Aidan was shocked to learn that his friend had nothing but negative things to say about the supervisor, and considered him not only to be a hateful person, but the primary reason she decided to leave the company and start looking for another  job in the first place!

“I suppose the news could have depressed me,” Aidan explained, “But in truth, I was relieved.  It helped me see that the ‘attitude problem’ wasn’t mine, but his.  He offended even the most positive person in the office!”

Although Aidan had been considering starting a job search due to this manager, after learning this news, he decided to Fix It! by staying put.  He realized that he may as well keep doing the same good job that he always had been – and tracking his results diligently, for evaluation time.  Why look elsewhere or continue worrying about someone who clearly bothers everyone?

Bridget* worked in accounting at a health club and enjoyed the added benefit of staying in shape for free.  Last spring, she had to take time off for surgery, when she broke her foot, and, although it healed, there were some complications, and she isn’t able to do all the athletic things that she could do before, such as rock climbing, etc.

Bridget noticed that after her time out of the office – and returning while walking with a cast and crutches – people treated her differently.  The other staff members engaged with her less in general, as well as joining her at lunch, and so forth.

“At first, I thought that it was their way of letting me get back into my routine,” Bridget explained, “Or, simply that I didn’t see people as much, since I took the elevator instead of the stairs, etc., but then I noticed several other incidents.”

Bridget was passed over for consideration on work committees that she used to be automatically signed up for, such as an annual competition between their club and other health clubs.  Working this event was practically mandatory for all permanent employees each year.

“Although I might not be able to compete as I once did,” Bridget conceded, “I would still like to attend.  I can also work the event – selling tickets, working registration, etc.  They didn’t give me a chance . . . just retired me like some old injured work horse they decided to shoot.  Perhaps I was too shameful to be seen on their team, since I still limp.  I don’t know.”

Being so ignored and excluded in this institution that clearly worshipped athletic prowess above all else led Bridget to decide to Forget It! and she began looking for another job – in a place that would value her for the skills that she was hired to do instead.

Do you have a Fix It or Forget It? story to share?  Send it to me, and it might help others.  Identifying features will be altered prior to publishing.
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Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
—  Rita Mae Brown

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