Friday, November 8, 2013

Work Struggles

So lately I've been really struggling with my work situation.

As you may remember, we went thru a major organizational change nearly 2 years ago, and as a result the entire culture & environment I am working in has changed drastically as well.

And I'm miserable.

First of all, and probably most serious, here is advice / tidbits I've gotten from people who have long-term been in the group we merged with:

Trust no one. I've seen too many people stabbed in the back by people they thought they could trust.

Trust no one.

Welcome to the fishbowl. Where everyone's watching you, either to feed on you or to hide behind you.

Watch what you say. Everyone's listening, and they will twist your words and use it against you.

This is completely out of character to everything I've known during my 10 years with this company. Sure, I've had my issues (who doesn't?), but I could always trust my co-workers. Heck, I know many of their spouses, our kids play together. After 10 years, a lot of them feel more like family.

I've already experienced some of this first-hand. And so has at least one of my co-workers / friends.

It's really sad.

You wouldn't think the culture in a company could change that much from one division to another, but obviously it can.

Another big difference is that now there is a much bigger emphasis on appearance. You see, since being here I've always worked in an engineering group. There's a huge focus on productivity, results, etc. Now that we've merged with an administrative group, it seems to be all about appearances. It's not enough to do a good job. Now you have to spend ridiculous amounts of time making a pretty report to "prove" that you did the work. And if your report isn't pretty enough? You might as well not bother doing the work at all.

It even translates into personal appearance. Which I find interesting considering we're all under the same dress code. Here we have a business casual dress code.

My guys tend to dress in a polo, slacks, and steel toed shoes (they're cuter than you think). Now that we've moved (oh yeah, our office moved to another building - ugh)? Women in heels & dresses nicer than I wear to weddings, men in ties. It's even different in the bathroom. In the other building, you did your business & got out. Here? Women spend copious amounts of time preening in front of the mirror.

It's sickening how much emphasis is put on appearance over function now.

Add to that my actual work situation. Due to the org change, the vast majority of my projects were handed over to another group, because it better fits in their responsibilities. I was supposed to be backfilled with new projects.

That has yet to happen. It's been brought up to my (new) manager multiple times. But there's been little to no development, and the work he's given me to try to fill my time is rote administrative tasks. Which I don't mind doing, to a point, but...

I realized the other day that I am in exactly the same position I was 10 years ago.

Ten years ago I started here, in this building, on this floor, surrounded by people I barely knew, spending the vast majority of my day doing data entry.

I did well, they gave me more responsibility. I did that well, they gave me more. Rinse, repeat. It took seven years for them to max out my capacity. I led multiple projects on a regular basis, led cross-functional teams as needed for special projects, presented to the entire division regularly. And I loved my work.

Now? Ten years later? In the matter of about nine months, because of handing off projects that weren't backfilled, because of an office move made due to corporate politics over business need, I am in exactly the same position. Nine months has made the difference. It has been a huge step backward in my career.

I am in the same building, on the same floor, surrounded by people I barely know, spending the majority of my time doing data entry.

I've repeatedly told my Manager I want more: more work, more responsibility. Teach me. Develop me. Let me do more. He seems to listen, but nothing happens.

My husband thinks I should go over his head, to the General Manager, who came from my old group and with whom I've had a good working relationship. Maybe he's right, but I'm reluctant to pull the go-over-your-head card.

But I am miserable.

I feel trapped.

Because, let's face it. I'm probably not going anywhere for a while.

Jena's tuition is subsidized by my employer. So until she graduates Kindergarten (in May), I'm not leaving. Oh, and my due date is in May, so then there's maternity leave, so... basically I have a year. And let's face it, even if I were willing to leave before then, no one wants to hire the pregnant lady. Oh, they legally can't list that as their reason, but we all know it's true. So that leaves a year. A year to find a way to improve things.

Sometimes I think I just need to improve my attitude, my outlook.

All I know is something's gotta give. I just hope it's not me.

As always, thanks for checking in.


'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Oh dear, this is quite a conundrum. Faced with something similar, I just could not stand it anymore and jumped ship without looking back. Of course that requires getting a new job lined up- not so easy these days... I do think though that many times we sit and suffer and the truth is that there really is something so much better out there for us.
Are you still thinking of becoming a SAHM once the second little one arrives?

Stevie said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through a rough time. Sending light and love your way. If you are indeed going to have to stay where you are, I hope you can find some peace in the middle of it all. And congrats on your pregnancy!

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