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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Busy doing nothing, working the whole day long

Over educated for your role? I consider the implications in my next podcast due out on Saturday.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

'Don't ask me what I think of you, you might not get the answer that you wanted to.'

I've worked for a fair few organisations now. Not necessarily because I wanted to but because the move was often forced on me. The 'R' word, I may have mentioned it before. It's been a working life of ups and downs, going round in circles, digging holes and filling them back in. Some organisations I've been happy in and really enjoyed working there, some places I've loathed, some have been OK, a career transit lounge until the next opportunity comes along. Sometimes the people I've worked with have been fun, some mixed, others very, very hard work. I'm thinking of two in particular when it comes to the very hard work – one, an Italian car company and the other a now defunct textile group (and what a glorious, mind bogglingly stupid career move that was. Moving on...).  I have had a portfolio career, before they were trendy, if you want to categorise it. And you do, I'm sure

When you are offered that new role you spend a few weeks bathed in the warm aura that someone wants you, that the sun is shining and opportunities are endless. You've sold yourself to them and they have flattered your ego bigly by saying 'Yes we choose YOU.' What no one can tell you, or will tell you, is just what it's going to be like actually working there. Our contracts of employment tell us our pay, hours, make vague and largely worthless statements about what the job involves (anything the organisation pretty much wants it to), the hours of work (ha!) and so on. But nowhere does it say “You are required to be genuinely happy' or 'You are required to derive great job satisfaction and contentment.' And that's just as well really as it's all a lottery as to how it goes down.

Therefore you pitch up on the first day and (all of these have happened to me); 

  • They know you are coming, there's a desk, equipment, induction, meet and greet the team. Someone tells you where the toilets are and how to make a drink. It's organised. 
  • They know you are coming, there's a desk, equipment, induction, meet and greet the team. You learn within two hours that the growth plans expounded at the interview are based entirely on conjecture and have no basis in reality. The job doesn't really exist - it's a 'Bullshit job*’. The manager leaves within a few weeks; that is not a good sign. Really, it's not. Those were the highlights and it's all going southbound from now on.
  • No one seems to know anything from Reception onwards. There is no structure, plan, induction and you spend the first week trying to find out just where you are meant to sit and what you have to do. You are never formally introduced to any one, you have to figure out who is who and make your own introductions. You go on your induction 6 months after you start - yes, I'm not making that up.
  • A manager knows you are coming, meets you at Reception, takes you to a desk or office and...leaves you there. There is never a formal induction, you have to make your own plan up, nobody knows what it is you are meant to be doing and it's made quite clear that you are an embarrassment to the Director who doesn't want you and a perceived threat to the marketing manager who thinks you are after his job. That was the highpoint, like a ski jump slope after that only with no snow to land on, just pointy rocks. 
  • You are met, sat at a desk, moved in an hour to another in a corridor then, as that really is not at all convenient and quite a surprise to passers by, stuck in an office in Portacabin where you cannot hear the sound any other person unless someone visits you (and they don't know you are there so they don't) or you walk back to the main offices. It takes three weeks for the phone to be connected. The rest is a notch potch of good and bad. However there are some highlights - several woman fighting at the Christmas party, drug taking on site, more fighting amongst males, stealing.

There are more and I'm sure you have your own variants. But slowly all is revealed whether it is good, bad, mixed or indifferent.

I was asked, during my first probation meeting a short time ago, whether 'I was happy in my job.' I answered truthfully ‘I can tolerate it.’ And I can, but that's all. I wasn't complaining. I wanted to set the context in that I knew what I was accepting when I took the role and the implications for great contentment. Or rather not. But happy? No. Fulfilled? No, and never likely to be. Thank you for the job, I'll come in and work as productively and as efficiently as I can for 8 hours a day, I won't complain unless it is legitimate but please, don't expect me to be challenged or deliriously happy in the role. I don’t get up in the morning punching the air, waving balloons on sticks and shouting ‘Can’t wait to get back to that repetitive admin it's why I got an MBA. I knew that elective module in repetitive low grade admin work would come in useful one day.’ 

It's a means to an end is all. 

I find that rather sad really that, at 64, I couldn't find a role that I could find at least partly satisfying and fulfilling with all my skill sets and experience. Nothing wrong with being an older worker, just don't lose your job.

*Wikipedia: Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that argues the existence and societal harm of meaningless jobs. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless, which becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Success; my latest podcast (and for once it's not me doing all the talking)

Losing your job through no fault of your own is tough whatever age you are - for older workers it brings extra challenges. 

In this podcast I interview an older worker who deployed a very successful strategy and tactics to get a new role quickly when his senior management role was made redundant.

(I still have a lot to learn about remote interviewing - as you can tell)

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Mission impossible?

Have your five minutes of fame. Be heard across the world. Well USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and others.

Talk to me folks.