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Being responsible for people...
Old 05-17-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
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Being responsible for people...

Not sure why it took so long to figure out, but the root cause of my dissatisfaction with work is, I am tired of being responsible for people! It's not the technical aspects, the hours, the infighting, the competition, nasty customers (not all by any means), not even the politics (petty at times, but not overall). Most of the people I work with or who work for me (about 80) are good/great talented hard-working people, or I wouldn't still be grinding away (for the great pay). It's the sizeable entitlement minded minority that take everything they have for granted and no matter what you give them or do for them, it's never enough in the end. I could go on and on with examples but I'll spare the details, but that's really what makes my job at MegaCorp so tiresome. I realize this will be a "duh" for many of you, but something I just never could put my finger on - until now. An "aha" moment. FIRE in two years...
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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Interactions with people in a working environment can be tough. Some people bring all of their family issues to work, and view their supervisor essentially as a parent who just isn't being "fair".

But life isn't fair, work is nobody's family, and supervisors aren't parents.
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:51 AM   #3
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Back in my old life, I used to be "important." When shown the door, I realized how meaningless my view of corporate loyalty really was. I'm now a worker bee and a total slacker by my prior standards. I still get all sorts of praise for my work quality and output.

In my current role I get a better view of what my coworkers really do and how they do it. Some are total slugs. Since I'm not in management, people will not "look good" for my benefit. I see them handle personal business, look for other jobs and generally screw off for most of the day.

My advice is to take a deep breath and stop worrying about things as much but you may already have learned that advice already on your own.

It's amazing how the stress level goes down when you realize you have enough to retire on.
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:57 AM   #4
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Yeah Midpack, I know what you mean. I've got 3,000, most of them good, hardworking people. But there always are a few bad apples, and always the "sizeable entitlement-minded minority". And you know, it doesn't matter what you do to try to make/keep people happy, there's always a crowd who don't like____________(fill in the blank), and want more.

The reality of the matter, for me, is that the only thing keeping me at least semi-focused on the tasks at hand are the good people who I have worked with to build this little company into a megacorp, yet the biggest reason I long so much for FIRE is having to be responsible for so many people, and dealing with the "entitlement" crowd. I will say though, that I got rid of my two worst whiners/problem-children last year. I had 22 direct reports at the time, and I spent at least 8-10 hours a week with each of these two, or dealing with the problems they caused. Being free of these two has really helped with the stress reduction.

FIRE comes for me in a couple years as well, + or -...haven't set a date.

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Old 05-17-2008, 07:04 AM   #5
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Ditto. I just inherited several who are doing just enough to keep from being fired...maybe.

Since it brings down the whole team to have dead wood, I'm going to help them get better.
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:28 AM   #6
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I've worked with this group for 16 years, and I systematically weeded out the slackers quite a while ago. And I have carefully made great hires (the most important decisions I make IMHO). But from the original group, what's left is a group that with very few exceptions, do what's technically/professionally expected or more. Among them are still a "sizeable entitlement minded minority..."

2B:

I run the place, so I don't have the luxury of 'not worrying about it.' And I don't want to let the place deteriorate over my next 2 years to FIRE anyway, not what my life has been about. I intend to leave the place better than ever, for the majority who deserve it, and the VP/Sr Officers/Owners I work for who have by and large been very good to me.

Like you, I intend to work after I leave MegaCorp. But at something I want to do, with (hopefully) no one reporting to me, and (understandably) at lower pay (gladly).
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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Like you, I intend to work after I leave MegaCorp. But at something I want to do, with (hopefully) no one reporting to me, and (understandably) at lower pay (gladly).
Because of market conditions, my current pay is significantly higher than the job I lost in 2002. From some recuiters I've talked to recently, the pay in my old industry/function has not risen to the level I'm currently making.

A certain part of my pay is reflected in the boom going on in the oil business. I expect that when the boom is over I'll be "retired." Since I've declared myself financially able to retire, I have no dread or fear. I'm using the current time to fill by sack a little more, get medical insurance cheap and have something to do while waiting for my FIL to pass on.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:10 AM   #8
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DW was just recalling a slacker at her office in the federal govt. Yes, some of the rumors are true about those since it about takes an Act Of Congress to fire somebody. The county govt. I worked for was only slightly better. For the most part though everyone I worked with pulled their weight.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:41 AM   #9
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I am tired of being responsible for people!
Yep. I found it amazing how the bottom 1% or 2% of the team can destroy good feelings of accomplishment the balance of the team has. Get an important order shipped on time...... 98% of the team feels great about it. 2% walk around saying things like "What's in it for us? Can we leave early today as a reward? Etc. " Absolutely no concept that the reason we had good jobs with good pay and benefits over the long haul was because we continued to get these kind of things done and customers were happy and stayed with us.
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It's the sizeable entitlement minded minority that take everything they have for granted and no matter what you give them or do for them, it's never enough in the end.
My observation is the more they whined and pushed their negative attitudes into others' faces, the more likely it was that their opinion of their own work far exceeded it's real worth.

It was always amazing how that troublesome 2% fought to hang onto the jobs they spoke of hating, digging in their nails and refusing to look for something else, even within the company.

It's the thing I miss the least about wo**ing. Interestingly, the thing I miss most is the interaction with the other 98%. I was on a great team and it was literally a thrill to have so many bright, talented, hard working folks share their efforts with mine.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Midpack, you essentially pinpointed my reason for retiring, before eligible.

The paper parameters of my then position were technical in nature, with management as part. However the constant political correctness demanded by the 15 or so percent marginally competent, highly vocal component was really grating.

Add to that Senior management's CYA three to four times a year re-education camps, (sensitivity, cultural awareness training, role playing hooplas) were more important than getting w*rk done.

The motto; we always have the time and money do things over and over.

Self imposed retirement was the answer, and good one . Your post did trigger a blast from the past.
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Old 05-17-2008, 04:55 PM   #11
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Interesting comments.

When I was young-em I enrolled in MBA school at night so I could get some of those coveted management jobs. When I finally got into management I realized that once you got more than handful of people working for you, there was always problem children. At my highest level 30-40 folks in the organization there always a couple, and unfortunately the 5% bad employees required almost as much time as the other 95%...
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:14 PM   #12
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I have done the management thing and don't ever want to be in charge of anyone again. I am happy enough to make my own modest contribution and leave it at that. Soon, I won't even be doing that.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:19 PM   #13
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I also found that if you fired the 1 or 2 problem people, others would magically take their place.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:40 PM   #14
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I also found that if you fired the 1 or 2 problem people, others would magically take their place.
Yep. Aristotle nailed it way back in 350 BC: nature abhors a vacuum.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:56 PM   #15
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I was a programmer for ~20 years, then they made me a manager/team lead; 'bout killed me.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:44 PM   #16
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When I worked, I had four people reporting to me. We got along very well; I was very fortunate. DH has 47...he's hair is completely white now.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:59 PM   #17
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I was a programmer for ~20 years, then they made me a manager/team lead; 'bout killed me.
Whenever my boss asks me if I want to be the project manager, I tell him that if that's in the best interest of the company but my preference is to continue doing technical work as an individual contributer. I have managed to not getting selected as a project manager.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:23 PM   #18
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What was that saying Greaney used to have? Some want to lead the parade, some end up following, and some don't even want to be there.

I always felt that a big part of leadership was shielding your troops from the good ideas of the higher chain of command. But then there weren't many expectations of entitlement among us.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:26 PM   #19
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It's the most unpleasant part of my job, and I do plenty of it.

I've gotten better at the art of not responding to trivial and child-like behavior and demands, but they still annoy me.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #20
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I've gotten better at the art of not responding to trivial and child-like behavior and demands, but they still annoy me.
So...do you use your moderator gig to work off your frustrations?
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