Have you ever been in a job where you just felt the place was doing nothing for you? Working 40 hours a week and felt like there was this expectation that your employer should be doing more for you? I’ve been there. I’ve actually been there for a while. Nothing makes the days drag on and the reward seem minimal than having a mindset of “what can my boss do for me?” The thing is, this mindset has gotten me nowhere, and it wasn’t until this past year that one thing after another happened that forced me to see things differently.
Prior to when this enlightenment hit me the other day, I was a good employee. I clocked in, I did what was expected of me and I was respectful to my co-workers to a fault. Where did my wrong mindset come into play? It was a combination of things. I started with my current employer when I was employee 20 (or something pretty darn close to it). Back then it was a small company and I moved into a role quickly where I acted as the Customer Service Manager’s right-hand guy. I dealt with angry clients. I dealt with rule breakers. I was in a position to resolve these escalated matters. Unofficially, I was able to make Management decisions and take care of situations, so the Customer Service Manager could do things like QA his staff and work on training for them. While in this position, I created many processes and procedures through the trial and error process. I was a go-to person for so many things. Then, Management changed and I became bitter.
When new Management came in, it was someone with experience in the same company type, just much, much larger than us. As this man began going through and making changes to how we did things, I found myself in the space between so-to-speak. I worked Sales, and I worked this Customer Care role mentioned above. Before new management came in, I was talking to our CSM about moving into an official management role, because it’s what I was doing anyways. When our new Management decided to keep with that idea, then back out of it a couple weeks later, my vision of my employer started to skew.
Within 2 months, I was working only Sales and gave up every other role I had with the company, per Management’s request to re-structure how they do things. I watched processes I put together be pulled apart and done from scratch as if I didn’t put time and effort into them in the first place. The hardest part for me was I was only doing Sales – answering questions for people wanting to buy things from us. To me, my time here of making a real impact was over.
That was in 2016 and by November, all avenues to re-gain the type of position I had with the company before were gone and I was simply a Sales Engineer. 2017 was a difficult year personally and professional, as I went through this change at work and was transitioning my life after a divorce in late 2016. My work in 2017? Scattered. We had new Sales hires who didn’t work the same as I did and we really had no process to handle things, which left me frustrated because I had a process for this stuff, which was thrown to the way side.
Fast forward and it’s January 2017 and I am about 30 days into a 90 day performance evaluation, after my annual review in December was highlighted by the fact that Management is giving me a chance to save my job. While some would step back and see that moment as a time to maybe find a new job, or just work harder, I found the moment time to reflect on the kind of employee I’ve been. I’ve been the type of employee who worked hard with the thought of “If I do this, then they will take care of me”. I was expecting to move up the ladder into Management and sail off into the sunset as I continued to move forward in this company. You know what I didn’t think about when I worked here? I didn’t think about how my work could make a difference with this company. I was too busy feeling entitled because of how quickly I moved into a ‘go-to’ role with the company to realize that I was shooting myself in the foot with my bitterness every day.
If you’ve been in that position where you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall wondering why you’re stuck going no where, I encourage you to step back and evaluate yourself. Evaluate your mind set, performance and your engagement. Having a job is not a right, it’s a privilege, and performance and attitude dictate where you go from your current position. Be positive, be encouraged and take 2018 and turn things around, because your employer is worth it. I know mine is.