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What to do when job turns out differently than expected

What to do when job is different than expected

QA year ago, I joined a small company as its first marketing director. Unfortunately, the owner seems to view my role as more tactical and administrative than strategic. He never includes me in planning meetings or strategy sessions.

I assumed that building a marketing function from scratch would be a valuable learning experience that could strengthen my resume, but so far I'm only doing routine tasks. How can I encourage my boss to involve me at a higher level?

AInstead of angling for a meeting invitation, go back to square one and have a basic discussion with your boss about goals and expectations. Lacking experience in marketing, he probably has no conception of your potential contributions.

To communicate your value clearly, draft a projected work plan and review it with him. Without using marketing jargon, describe how your proposed steps can help the company reach important milestones.

Once he has signed off on your goals, explain how involvement in the planning process will be critical to accomplishing them. Then suggest that you attend the next strategy session.

On the other hand, if your boss seems to have absolutely no interest in using the full range of your talents, then your planning may need to include another career move.

Behavioral change must start with you

QNo one at work seems to like me. I usually keep to myself because my co-workers never act very interested. When I do try to communicate with them, I get a lot of odd reactions that seem fake. I'm sick of all these people who apparently feel they have no faults.

Management talks about employees being "family," but that's a complete crock. My co-workers never act as though they care about me, so why should I care about them? After being stuck here for four years, sometimes I just want to give up. And I'm tired.

AThe fact that you're tired is no surprise. Feeling hurt, resentful and angry for eight hours a day can be exhausting. It's also a complete

waste of emotional energy.

If this is the first time you've felt isolated at work, you may have wandered into a toxic organization. But if the pattern seems familiar, then the problem may originate with you.

Your aloofness and pessimistic assumptions could easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you anticipate rejection, you act wary and mistrustful, thereby causing colleagues to view you with some suspicion.

To break this vicious cycle, you need to recognize that any change must begin with you. Remember that these people are co-workers, not friends. You don't have to like them; you just have to work with them. Since you can't force them to change their behavior, your only hope is to modify your own.

If you can stop dwelling on negative feelings and start being a pleasant and helpful colleague, you may find that your co-workers will reciprocate. But if breaking this pattern proves to be too difficult, consider talking with a professional counselor.

Enlist manager to stop perpetual practical joker

QWhat can be done about a co-worker who likes to play practical jokes? He thinks it's funny to create fictitious e-mails with rude comments, then send them out under someone else's name. He has even faxed unprofessional messages to customers as though they came from another employee.

When we confronted this guy, he denied everything, but we know he's the guilty party. He seems to delight in creating chaos and conflict. How do we put a stop to this?

AYour juvenile associate is undoubtedly the only person who finds this reckless behavior amusing. Misinformed customers and wrongly accused co-workers certainly won't be laughing.

Since your group intervention failed to produce results, it's time to make this a management problem. You and your colleagues should give the jokester's boss some examples of his fabricated documents and explain how you know he's the author. Unless his manager is equally childish, that should put an immediate end to these obnoxious pranks.

Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

What to do when job turns out differently than expected 08/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 29, 2009 5:31am]
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