Saturday, June 30, 2007

Job Search: The Grass is Greener!

As I mentioned in my prior post Conference Commando, I have decided that I no longer want to be tormented by the clueless executives above me. I've posted many responses on this blog that basically vented about the various career situations I've experienced. I've also tried to explain how companies, through poor management, cause good workers to become turtles at work. I've received many comments from people stating that they experience some of the same situations and are also frustrated. Hopefully through documenting my decision to search for a new job I will help other turtles escape their bad situations and possibly become wolves again.

In making this decision I really looked at the stages of my time at my company. Because my company is so horrible in understanding workers it causes people to ride the "Career Roller Coaster". I went through 5 stops since joining my current company.

(Click on the below graphic and it will launch a bigger, more readable version)

1. Energetic. I came in with great ideas and energy. I was a wolf (ambitious)

2. Optimism. I presented my ideas for change, waiting and hoping they would be successful

3. Neglect. I watched as the executives above me ignored my work.

4. Defeat. I realized that my contributions didn't matters and became a Turtle

5. Search. I made the decision to make a career change to search for a new company.

I'm currently beginning the Search stage of my Coaster ride, hoping to find a company that won't put me on a Roller Coaster. However by starting a smart search by understanding what I value is key. I'll discuss this in my next post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Conference Commando

In an earlier post titled A Day in the Life: My Boss I described, via a detailed time line, how my boss spends (a better word would be wastes) his time playing solitaire, video pinball, reading newspapers, and flirting with our department assistant. The blob of the office exemplifies my company; a lot of high paid people doing nothing.

Well, it seems that my boss has added another useless skill to his repertoire. It seems that since everyone knows that he does absolutely nothing, someone decided to give him something to do that plays up to his one true skill, which is wasting time. He has become "The Conference Commando"! Over the past few months he has suddenly been hopping plane after plane to attend various conferences. He's been in California, Ontario, Florida, Colorado and New York, all on the company's dime.

In one way I don't mind this because I don't have to see him blob around all day, but on the other hand it pisses me off. I can't get a penny towards training for my employees yet our company will spend thousands of dollars for blobby to supposedly attend conferences. I say supposedly because he never brings anything back to share with the people that report to him. The other kicker is that he takes his wife along with him, so you know he probably skips the conferences in favor of something like site-seeing and eating (another thing he is good at).

Yet another feather in the hat of frustration. My boss has the luxury of being able gallivant all over the country, meanwhile my co-workers and I get the short end of the stick. I will be writing in upcoming posts about my plans to escape my horrid company. Hopefully my thoughts and actions will help inspire others to move on as well and get out of there horrible work environments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility....Yeah Right!

If you’ve seen the first installment of the movie Spiderman you probably know the famous line from that movie “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. This line helped keep Spidey grounded as he struggled with understanding how to use his new abilities or powers. In the world of business there are many that have power that should certainly reflect on the responsibility associated with the power they wield. .

Power is a relative term, but in business, one way power is defined is by position or rank within the company. The CEO usually wields the most power as this person has the ability to shape the direction of the organization. With each level below the CEO, power diminishes however I believe there is a distinct break in power once you pass the executive level (Vice Presidents). The CEO forms the direction, strategy and culture of the company and utilizes the Executive Staff to employ their power to filter that down to the rank and file.

But what if the people who wield the power within a company are corrupt? Just because a CEO and his/her Executive Staff have the power, it doesn’t mean they are skilled enough or ethical enough to use it wisely. Hell, most executives acquired power through unethical means. I’ve seen the political jockeying that goes on to attain power at a company, and most times it has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with how cunning and conniving a person can be in destroying their fellow power seekers. So if they’ve attained power through unethical means, you can pretty much bet that they’ll use that power unethically, which usually translates into power for their own benefit.

So how does this concept of business power relate to the non powerful folks (most likely you) at a company? If your executives have the power, but lack the ethics you probably are working for a company, much like mine, that doesn’t care about employees. The profile of a powerful yet unethical executive staff is clear. They love to talk, usually about themselves or their accomplishments. They don’t listen or care to interact with the employees who do 99% of the work. And, they have no problem collecting large salaries with bonuses while screwing you each year with horrible yearly increases along with cuts to your benefit programs (health care, dental, etc).

The last point is particularly frustrating as I am made to feel greedy when I question my 2.5% raise for exceeding expectations, while I watch the big shots drive around in their Lexus’ or other highly expensive vehicles. I also enjoy watching them as they all go out to lunch, every single day, while I eat my packed lunch. The topper is getting rejected for training I need, while they gallivant all over the country attending “conferences”, with their wives that really are paid company vacations.

Unfortunately the line should be re-written to say “With Great Power Should Come Great Responsibility” because having power in business does not automatically mean those in power will be responsible. Responsible Executives realize the power they have been given to lead a company is a privilege and use that power to grow their business and employees within that business. Most irresponsible Executives are only interesting in growing their own bank account. That’s why there are so many lackluster, under-performing companies out there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Book Review: Lead Well and Prosper

Recently I received a new book titled Lead Well and Prosper: 15 Successful Strategies for Becoming a Good Manager by Nick McCormick. Nick was gracious enough to send me a copy of this book to review and I would never turn down an opportunity to read and learn.

The thing I found different about this book as compared to the millions of books on management is that it’s to the point and focused. So many books out there go on and on for hundreds and hundreds of pages. Lead Well and Prosper gives existing or aspiring managers 15 key concepts to work on and effectively gets to the point without sacrificing detail or content.

Each chapter begins with an example of a situation pertaining to one of the key concepts, then follows with how to employ the correct strategy in handing the situation. The chapters conclude with a bulleted section showing Dos, Don’ts and Actions to remind and help guide the reader. These Dos, Don’ts and Actions are also combined in the appendix which is a nice checklist for any manager.

Mr. McCormick’s experience in business and leadership shows in this book as he doesn’t try to overwhelm you with buzz words, cliché’s or analogies. He instead gives you a straight forward approach on each strategy that you can actually use and act upon.

In addition to the great content within each chapter, the book contains a nice appendix, with some useful examples of action plans, schedules and an “Am I a Good Manager Test”.

In summary I think many managers think they are wonderful, but I’m sure if they would read Lead Well and Prosper and take the “Am I a Good Manager Test” they would get a dose of reality. Far too many managers overlook the strategies detailed in Lead Well and Prosper and frustrate and de-motivate their employees in doing so. I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this book and again thank Mr. McCormick for providing me a copy to review.

To Purchase Lead Well and Prosper visit:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Mountain of Performance

In talking with co-workers recently the question came up "what makes people at this company not give a shit?" As I mentioned in many early posts, people initially do "give a shit" when they start at a company. I believe that most people want to come in, do a great job, and have a rewarding career. Unfortunately there are forces that impact an employees ability to continue to strive to do a great job. In essense the Philosophy of the Turtle is envoked only after an employee has been battered and beaten into submission by poor management.

As I discussed this further with my co-workers I sketched out a drawing that pretty much explains why employees initially try hard then give up! Below is that drawing, but unfortunately for some reason I can only upload it in the below size. If you click on it it will open another browser and be easier to read.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It Could Be Worse

As I was riding to work the other day I detracted from my normal thoughts of workplace monotony. Instead of thinking about my deathmarch from the parking lot to my office, I began to think "hey, it could be worse." I mean, my job basically sucks, but I could be in a worse situation. I then began to think about possible situations that could be worse than working at my pointless job. Here is the list of situations that might possibly be worse than mine.

Septic Tank Repair Person. Imagine, starting your day with a four alarm septic tank overflow, knowing your the guy that has to fix it and clean it up. Your senses are probably numb from the constant stench of other people's shit.

Dog Crap Picker-Upper. Some smart entrepreneur figured that people are to lazy to pick up their own dog's crap, so they started dog crap pick up business. Aside from being disgusting imagine this scene.

Person: "Hey, what do you do for a living"
Dog Crap Picker Upper: "Uh, I'm a dog sanitation technician".
Person: "What exactly is that?"
Dog Crap Picker Upper: "Basically I go to people's homes and pick up their dog's crap."
Person: inaudible response due to laughter

Male Prostitute. Thoughts of Duece Bigalow Male Jigalow come to mind on this one.. I mean, sure it would be great if you were a male prostitute for a bunch of Christy Brinkley type women, but let's face it, women who pay for sex are probably more likely to resemble Roseanne Barr, Rosie O'Donnell, or the landlord from the movie Kingpin

I apologize to any of my readers that work in the Septic Tank Repair Business, Dog Crap Clean Up Business, or are currently earning a living as a Male Prostitute. However, these situations are all much worse than mine. In the end, dealing with incompetent and overpaid executives isn't the worst that could happen to me. It's close, but as I said early, it could be worse!
Feel free to comment with jobs or situations that you think are worse than yours. I look forward to hearing your comments.

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