Sunday, June 17, 2007

What it takes to get through the day

when you don’t want to go back from where you came from, but don’t know where you want to go next and where you are just isn’t tolerable.

Last week I had lunch with a friend of mine, someone I worked with a blue moon ago. She is fantastic at what she does, the kind of person you would hire in a millisecond because she is talented, diligent and knows how to get things done. She recently left a job because her company had merged and the new regime’s corporate culture wasn’t appealing to her and she didn’t agree with the new strategic direction for the merged entity. Her new job is in a tangentially related field, where she was told she could make the job what she wanted. They are paying her mad, crazy money to help them improve their service offering.

She hates the new job. The people at the new company are slow witted. They have no idea how to get new clients. She can’t figure out how it is that they have customers today. She vents to me how they sit in a room (30 people!) to decide minor things like should a button be green or blue on their home page. They discussed for 4 hours how to respond to an RFP. She wanted to take the form, leave the room and return later in the afternoon with the document completed. Everything moves at glacial speed.

Both her previous job and one of her clients from old job have approached her to work for them. But she knows leaving her old company was the right thing to do. She also knows staying at her new company isn’t acceptable. She isn’t sure that any amount of proding, coaching or flat out kicking of asses will shape up this firm. The slowness, the bueracracy, the stupidity engrained in the culture comes straight from the top. She has never been in this situation before. Her career has been a straight upward trajectory. For the first time, she has potentially made a bad choice.

I feel lost, she says, then leaning in close whispers to me: yesterday, I considered having a drink before work, just to get through the morning with these people.

You must get out, I think. This isn’t good. But she wants to try and make it work, to give it a chance. She needs time to figure out what to do next. But really, she isn’t sure what she wants to do next, that is why she wants to stay put for awhile. It’s difficult to make a decision on what to do next when your current situation is sucking the life out of you. What do you do when you realize where you are is absolutely not where you should be, but you have no idea which path to chose next?


At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Bryan said...

Unfortunately, the glacial speed she refers to is prevelent at so many organizations. Especially in the public sector at places like local, state and federal agencies. After having spent a lot of years in the military taking charge, leading the pack and getting things done, it's been very hard to adjust to the sloth-like pace out here in cubicle land.

As for your friend, unless she truly thinks she can make a difference there, she might be better to move on. Honestly, if the firm is as lethargic and unguided as she says, and being lead that way from the top, then that may be how they like it. The employees working there now are probably the type of employees who like it that way, don't want it to change, and are happy just to sit there that way until they can retire. No sense in rocking the boat right?

Considering what your friend said, I think the button should be red with 'Easy' written on it. LOL!


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