Helping People Survive In Business

I am currently editing my  book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, for publication on Kindle and I expect it will be a few weeks before it is available for download.

In the meantime, I am sharing chapters with you so you can see why this book is still being read after 14 years out of print. This chapter is titled, “Why Good Jobs End Badly”.

Why Good Jobs End Badly

Every so often we fall into a position that draws upon all of our strengths. It seems like the opportunity of a lifetime and it is something we can excel at. We understand the job description and are encouraged to make changes which will benefit the company immensely.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?
The problem is that we don’t really understand what is needed and wanted, because the company doesn’t either! In the usual situation, the company has not thought the matter through and they want desirable changes to occur without altering any of the things they are happy with.

This is what generally happens:
We throw all our creativity into this new opportunity and create changes which are viewed with apprehension, so we throttle back to create changes which are acceptable.

Our changes may have actually increased business volume and profitability, but we keep getting pressure to make fewer waves while fixing the situation we were hired to fix. The demonstrable fact that business and profits are increasing gets lost because of the culture shock propagating through the organization from our changes.

So, we work harder and try to make our changes more palatable and before we know it we are trying to stay off the radar so that we can get our job done without upsetting management.

Basically we try to make ourselves smaller and work more slowly and more carefully so that we can fit in. This takes up more time, as it is far less efficient, and we spend more time working and less time living.

Meanwhile our resentment is building up and we become much less cheerful. we have put ourselves in a box of our own making and it affects every aspect of our lives. It invariably ends with our voluntary or involuntary departure. It can even involve a return to a less remunerative, but happier existence.

Corporations, like friends, have quirks (insanities) that can be avoided if you know they are there. If you can avoid triggering their insanities by your actions, you can deal with these companies and expect rational results. If you know what you are up against, you can set expectations for them and for yourself that can be realized.

You can break free from this destructive pattern by discovering what you are doing, or not doing, that gives it power over you. You may be doing yourself a disservice by starting work when you do not have a clear picture of what is needed.

You may have a picture of what is needed, but you may be the kind of person who does not take time to find out who rules the roost in your new company. Sometimes you are hired by someone who really needs you, and appreciates you, but your presence is a threat to someone who can make your life miserable. Get hired, by all means. Just tread carefully until you know who to trust and who to avoid.

I spent many years happily working in insane environments, because I was shielded from the insanity by good and courageous managers. Getting promoted and becoming visible changed two great jobs into intolerable ordeals.

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