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Identity Crisis
Old 05-03-2006, 08:56 PM   #1
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Identity Crisis

This seems like the right place for me. Young Dreamers, stress the Young

I'm having trouble with who I am and what I do. I've recently graduated college and have been working for about a year in the IT Consulting industry contracting with the Gov't - Management Consulting (not so much Technical Consulting/Development). I was hired into the job as 'you can do many different projects, doing many different things: project management, software development, testing, blah blah blah' Well I took it as the pay was great and it was employment.

Here I am about a year later. I still dont understand what I do, what my roles are and my responsibilities. Well, I might know, but am afraid of the answer. Some roles i may have are "tech support" - software, phone, computer anything support. "admin support" making copies, scheduling meetings, reserving lines, answer questions about anything. "Company Team support" - answer any question about anything to my company employees, what holidays we have, how to get email, paychecks, pay stubs, reimbursements, policy this or that. "Contractor Processing Support" whenever we get new contractors i have to fill out all the paper work, get them email, VPN access, ID cards,. We also have "teams" which we have developed Work Plans and I am listed as 1 FTE in PMO support in a certain area.

My day to day activities involve juggling all of those duties, which all have different 'people to answer to'. As well as 'assistant support' to my manager doing anything and everything.

Today, we had our pre- Performance Review where we have to submit our updated resume, goals and accomplishments, and resume cameo. I have been working on this all week and stayed up all nite last nite to finish this. I had my direct supervisor/manager review this before it goes to the "bigger" boss. So i wrote about my "accomplishments and roles and responsibliities" How our team, my supervisor and i worked our work plan. She reviews it and tells me it's written very well, but, "I dont know how to say this, its subtle, but ..." and she basically tells me, i've over qualified myself. and i should "be more realistic".

I think to myself,...well what do you want me to put? That I followed you around and made copies for you, fixed your documents and presentations, scheduled phone calls, WHICH led to the accomplishments and deliverables as stated in our work plan. But i guess i wasnt the LEAD/MAIN reason it was accomplished.

Well, I (my parents) spent $120k to send me to a top rated school, and I spent 4 years studying/working my ... off. And am I "Administrative Support"? I don't understand. How can i be a FTE in one thing and then also have 50 other roles to 50 other people?

I did not feel very well after hearing her comments regarding my performance review documents, and about my 'roles' in general. My heart sank really low. I'm not feeling so good right now. I dont know what to say, do, or feel. I know we have to "start at the bottom", but i feel like ive sunk 100 stages lower than before I started college. What have I done wrong? I have so much more to say on similar but slightly different topics I will hold for another thread.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-03-2006, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: Identity Crisis

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Originally Posted by vvsonikvv
I did not feel very well after hearing her comments regarding my performance review documents, and about my 'roles' in general. My heart sank really low. I'm not feeling so good right now.* I dont know what to say, do, or feel. I know we have to "start at the bottom", but i feel like ive sunk 100 stages lower than before I started college. What have I done wrong? I have so much more to say on similar but slightly different topics I will hold for another thread.
Sounds like your supervisor has quite an employee discouragement development plan going there. Why, that appears to have accelerated the completion of the performance review process!

Maybe you just don't suck & slack badly enough to be seen as a "good" employee.

At least you've updated your résumé as part of the process. Now you're ready to put it to good use finding another supervisor, or becoming your own...
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-03-2006, 10:57 PM   #3
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Re: Identity Crisis

Heh, I'd keep the resume as is and start submitting it to other companies. Well, actually I'd probably be too chicken to do that, but that's my interpretation of her assessment.

Welcome to corporate America. There are common themes that may or may not be at work here. One is that you are too new and they will rate you lower even if you outperform. It's just a rule. I've known several people told something like "you've done great, but we can't give you a higher review until you've developed more".

Attacking everything, learning everything and soaking in the knowledge is good for improving your abilities and employability, but you will get flak back from peers and supervisors. Ultimately they fear you as competition or that you'll highlight that their productivity is low. They may not realize they're thinking that, but that is the core reason.

Have you seen the movie "Office Space" yet? Rent it and view it for your affirmation of sanity.

I avoided much of the stupid politics for the first 10 years of my career, but in the past 10 years I understand what everyone else is talking about. I've come to rationalize that if it made sense, fulfilled me or was fun to do then they wouldn't pay me to come do it.

There are alternatives, but they are generally lower income (part time, lower stress jobs) or more work and risk (starting your own business, finding a halfway decent startup).

Performance reviews more or less universally depress or infuriate you.

One last thing: always resist the temptation to "set the record straight" or "tell it like it is". There is no upside to that.

Another last thing: the company got along fine before you and will get along fine without you. You got along fine before without the company and will not only get along fine afterward but have more experience and knowledge to use.

A third "last thing": It is very typical American (U.S.ian) to invest your identity of self into your job and/or career. Make sure you have a life identity that isn't tied to work (spouse, parent, nature lover, stamp collector, whatever); that really helps give you perspective and the strength to leave when you ultimately need to, whether it's at the end of the month or the end of your career.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 06:31 AM   #4
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Re: Identity Crisis

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Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim

Performance reviews more or less universally depress or infuriate you.

One last thing: always resist the temptation to "set the record straight" or "tell it like it is". There is no upside to that.
Agreed on both quotes. I used to design "performance management" systems and finally concluded that they are all negative contributors. Even a positive assessment is stressful. Not one in one hundred supervisors can do an effective job of it. Management always concludes training the supervisors to do it better is the answer. So they tweak the system, train everybody and the depressing cycle begins again.

Take the assessment with a large grain of salt. It may have just been inept. If you conclude that your supervisor really doesn not appreciate you, move on. In fact, moving on is probably a good idea simply because the work frustrates you.

A final note, as was discussed in other threads, there is always a bucket of BS that comes with any job, bigger at some smaller at others. But not all workplaces are as toxic as your sounds. If it continues as is, take a TQM pill, sing a positive song, and move on
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 08:09 AM   #5
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Re: Identity Crisis

sonik, that sounds so much like much of my career thus far that I am almost tempted to see if I created another ID while sleepwalking last night.

What can I say? How about "welcome to the work force."

You obviously are a smart, ambitious person who is trying to do well and get ahead. That's good. The problem is that most employers and supervisors are not terribly enlightened and therefore see you as a "headcount" or a "resource", even though many give lipservice to employee development and all that hogwash. The solution that has worked for me is as follows:

- Develop a contractor/mercenary mentality. Nobody is looking out for you except you. So do it. You will have many employers over the course of your career and there is plenty of demand for talent. Always keep in mind that if the **** they want you to shovel is unacceptable, there are lots of other employers out there that will cut you a better deal (less ****, more money, or both).

- Be ready, willing and able to jump ship. At this stage in your career, you should ALWAYS be on the lookout for a bigger, better deal. You are young and presumably have few attachments. This will not always be the case and it will eventually be much harder for you to move around. Take advantage of this while you can. If you can find a new gig with at least 20% higher pay or that will give you experience that gets you farther along the path you want to tread, take it without any qualms.

- Find other sources of identity and fulfillment besides your job. I hate to tell you this, but all that crap they fed you in school about doing fulfilling work and such is exactly that: crap. You may get a modicum of satisfaction from your job, but you are not an academic. If your job is the be-all and end-all of your life, you have a problem. Fix it.

You'll do fine over time, so don't let this fool get you down. Big employers and their review processes are meaningless in the long run. The review process is meant to justify the (likely small) raise and the box they put you in. Don't give it too much credence. And keep that resume polished.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 09:13 AM   #6
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Re: Identity Crisis

Like BMJ said, "Welcome to Corp. America."

I have been on both sides of the infamous Performance Review process for over 30 years in several big corporations. Here are the top failings of the system:

1. The assessment is done by people who are not properly trained on how to do evaluations or how to give them.

2. Many evaluations are done backwards....your merit increase has already been determined and now your Perf. Eval. needs to match it.

3. The Perf. Eval. is a HR program and with it comes all the bells and whistles that HR throws at it to make it "look" new or different because THEY have a goal to meet that says they will improve the process. They change it but rarely ever actually improve it.

4. Management is forced to make people fit into a biased bell shaped curve. Biased on the low side for the most part. Only 15% of the people in the whole organization can be high performers; only 5% can Walk of Water. On the other hand, you can't have more than 5-10% of you people in the "Does not meet Requirments" rating because that implies you suck as a manager and can't hire good people or don't address poor performance. That forces you to have a lot of people in the middle ranges of "Meets Expecations".

5. #4 forces you to biase people's performance reviews downward to make room for the very very few that will be rated at the highest end. This is unfair but it is what the system is designed to do.

6. New people in a job or new to the company cannot possibly be at the highest performance rating because they have to "learn" and "grow" into the job. HR would kick back any PE where a new person was at the higher end of the scale...it just does not work that way. Performance is a progressive thing since you are forced to under-rate most people.

7. New managers will always think you and your people were rated too high by previous management and will downgrade everyone for at least a year; maybe more. They have their OWN system and expecations and you won't know about ti until it is Perf. Eval. time and then Wham!

8. High performers are those that are very good at working the system and mostly management into thinking they are high performers. Most of these folks are very good at politics and at appearing to be very hard working. Some actually may be that good...most are just good at the system that makes them appear to be that good.

9. Don't confuse a PE with the truth. The PE is an opinion that is biased for business reasons, local convention, management mandate, merit system inequity, HR flavor of the year and a hundred other biases that create an illusion of truthfulness to the system.

10. A mediocre poor performance review is a RED FLAG for your career. If you get one...your future with the current boss, department and maybe the company is on a very slippery slope. Mediocre performers don't get promoted....very poor ones frequently get moved to other departments (moving your problems instead of solving them). Corporate memory is very very long for poor performance.

If you get a rating that is clearly not accurate it is a sure sign you need to find another manager or another job. A poor performance tends to be used to send a warning shot across your bow that it is time to either make some huge changes in how you are seen by management or that you just don't fit the mold they are looking for. Either way, don't ignore these or you will be stuck in a dead end job for as long as you stay there.

On the positive side....a really good performance eval. is a golden ticket. If you can get them frequently management will assure you a very good career path. The trick is to play along with the BS enough to convince them you are "one of them" while at the same time knowing deep down that it is truly all BS in the end. There are folks that thrive on BS and it becomes their life. I believe one can use the system but can also be their own person without dying from the BS.

Just my two cents while doing the annual Perf. Eval. BS shoveling exercise.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: Identity Crisis

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Originally Posted by SteveR
1. The assessment is done by people who are not properly trained on how to do evaluations or how to give them.
I'm not sure training is the answer either.

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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 03:50 PM   #8
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Re: Identity Crisis

You need a boss who appreciates you and see how valuable you are.* I have a really sucky job, but my boss stands up for me and always let everyone know how valuable I am to his department.* He fights to get me the most pay increase/bonus/stocks and understands that there's life outside of this job.* He doesn't force me to work late just to get some stupid crap in on time.* He's got that "There's always tomorrow" mentality.

Anyway, since your manager can't see how important you are in this company, maybe you should get another job with a different manager.* Or, just go work at another company.* Don't let him get you down.* He's just a jerk.

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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-04-2006, 10:42 PM   #9
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Re: Identity Crisis

well, i dont want to make my manager the bad guy (girl actually). She works very hard and is very dedicated to her job. She has quite better work ethic and work quality than 95%of the people i work with. Though she is a good worker, doesnt make her a good manager. She might be, im not sure. She always "tells" me and "praises me" about how good I am, how attention to detail, hard working, willingness to work, catch all the mistakes,... I dont know if its how she really feels, or just meaningless words. She does in front of other people and upper management as well.

I have received a evaluation from my client, which praises my great (imho) work and all that. She did not that she would like to see me 'rise up in the organization'. I feel this may connect with the previous mention of me being 'competition' to my manager. Since i am fresh from college, how can I be doing the same work (though at a lower level) than my manager? That would either make me superman, or her not so super woman. And of course, since im new I cant be superman.

...It just that more and more i seem to feel less and less about myself. Just yesterday as well, we had this meeting in another building. After the meeting everyone ran off, and I had to carry all the stuff back myself. No one even atleast waited to walk with me or anything. I don't know if its me, or my manager in general, but she seems to talk to me, then just stop and walk away and talk to someone else or answer the phone and start talking to someone. Sometimes someone does catch you off guard and you dont realize but you ignore one person and answer the other, but i feel like, she doesnt see me as significant.

I do understand and realize, that you cannot start at the top (well in some cases if your the CEO's son..), but I agree with a everything stated. Just because you are new it takes you X amount of years. well it should take you Y amount of years because it takes you Y amount of years, not X just because you are new.

And my Identity. I feel like WORK is who i am, because i am there like 75% of my time. In the morning, working late. and then work comes home with me. THere were times i had to go into the office on weekends. The bad part is, i dont feel like my work really 'does anything'. Or atleast people dont think it does anything. I just do it.

I guess this is Corporate America. What other parts of america can i goto? I was dissappointed at College, i guess i am not surprised i am dissappointed at post college.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 02:47 AM   #10
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Re: Identity Crisis

My first hit here is that you are a "utility player."* You do a little bit of everything, and specialize in nothing.*

Not a great place to be.* I can see why you're not happy and cannot see a future for yourself.*

That being said, you seem to have a view of what a lot of other people do.* Does any of it look exciting?* Anything you think you'd like to try?* What did you study in college, and what was your goal at that time?* If you see something you might like, why not "interview" that job's current holder and find out what it takes to get from here to there?* Maybe ongoing education, a certain type of experience, or something else.* Don't wait for your manager to help you, she seems otherwise occupied.

On the other hand, I didn't get the feeling that you had a clear goal ("I really want to be in Marketing" for instance") or that you took the job for any reason apart from the money, or to pay back your parents, or to meet their expectations.* Am I wrong in this?* Or might it be the case that you're not cut out for the corporate world at all?

Many people are not so suited, especially nowadays.* What you feel (justifiably) to be support work has become the order of the day in my experience.* Administrative support people have been laid off with the advent of computers, and day-to-day administrative work has been pushed onto us "professional" workers.* We're all typing our own letters, making our own appointments, chasing down our own stalled invoices...* we sometimes sit in wonder at the fact that they pay us so much for work a highschooler could handle.* Try not to take it personally, if you can help it. Especially as the low man on the totem pole, administrative work is to be expected.

It's also the case that you will rarely, if you work anywhere but in Sales, be able to tie your effort back to company results.* At least not in a large company -- you may have some hope in a smaller organization.

That relates to something else I notice --* you say that your boss praises you, sometimes in front of management, and that your client is laudatory.* But you don't seem to believe them.* On the other side of the coin you are depressed when others don't notice you or fail to walk with you after meetings, etc.* You sound like a nice, sensitive soul who may need / want a more collegial and nurturing environment than you can find in an impersonal corporation.

All of these things suggest a serious reassessment of your goals and needs.* If this year has been unsatisfactory because you don't really "fit" in corporate America, try repeating it for the next 30 years.* Take it from me, that would suck!*

I'm saving for an early escape from the corporate world and looking for a place I really belong -- at 49 years old.*

You're a lot younger than I am.* If this isn't a fit, find that out now, and spend the next 30 years doing something you love.* I'm not unhappy with my financial progress, but if I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would have spent more time looking for something I loved.

Whatever the case, I can clearly see that you're troubled. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide to do.

Caroline


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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 05:28 AM   #11
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Re: Identity Crisis

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Originally Posted by vvsonikvv

Today, we had our pre- Performance Review where we have to submit our updated resume, goals and accomplishments, and resume cameo. I have been working on this all week and stayed up all nite last nite to finish this.
Whoa! Wait a sec... The employee has to spend long hours on Performance Review paperwork? How clever! Another management task moved to the worker.

You gotta love it. "Hey Moe, write some stuff to tell us why you deserve a raise you're not gonna get anyway. We'll all read it, ask you to rewrite it. Then we'll file it. Someday we'll throw it out.


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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 08:28 AM   #12
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Re: Identity Crisis

Yuck! - Performance Reviews - gave them and got them.

A less than warm and fuzzy memory from my working years.

Never worth the effort put in.

heh heh
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 09:06 AM   #13
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Re: Identity Crisis

Here I am about a year later. I still dont understand what I do, what my roles are and my responsibilities.

If you are going to work anywhere around the government, you have to get used to this feeling. For about 25 of the 27 years I spent with the government I felt this way. It was a major factor in my decision to put myself out to pasture. From the sounds of some of the other posts here, corporate America isn't all that much different. It got even worse for me when I got into supervision/management, and I ditto the negative comments about giving performance reviews. I hated giving them as there was always a pressure to bell curve your people with the latest buzz words. Unfortunately, a lot of government and corporate HR offices are now computerizing both the hiring and rating processes to use computers to rate and hire people based upon the computer's ability to pick those buzz words out of a written application/performance input. That ought to give you warm fuzzies all over. Where is Dave when we need him? HAL has to be stopped.

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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 11:15 AM   #14
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Re: Identity Crisis

I've managed to stay close to the line of production my whole career. I've either had my hands directly on the product or supported equipment making the product happen. I guess now is the most removed where I support equipment that supports equipment that makes the product happen. If I had to support an office full of paper shufflers I might lose my way, too. I guess it makes work easier to prioritize when you can see what has an immediate effect on production and what doesn't.

After reading this thread for a while I get the impression lots of people are stuck in cubicles with no solid concept of how what they do affects the company's product. Here the company won't stop running when I quit, but if nobody did what I do for a few weeks in a row then there would be direct expenses due to manual contingency operations or a lack of servicable equipment to move the product. That's not as direct as I used to be, but it's tangible, and now that I think about it that's important to me.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 04:41 PM   #15
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Re: Identity Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
My first hit here is that you are a "utility player." You do a little bit of everything, and specialize in nothing.

Not a great place to be. I can see why you're not happy and cannot see a future for yourself.

That being said, you seem to have a view of what a lot of other people do. Does any of it look exciting? Anything you think you'd like to try? What did you study in college, and what was your goal at that time?

... we sometimes sit in wonder at the fact that they pay us so much for work a highschooler could handle. Try not to take it personally, if you can help it. Especially as the low man on the totem pole, administrative work is to be expected.
Right. I guess I do a little bit of everything and specialize in nothing. I do want to be good at something and be the "____" guy and not the "goto" guy. who does everything. I know at some companies, they put you through a training program, where they set you in different roles so you 'try' them out and then pick (or they pick) where is best for you. (atleast the college hire recruiters tell me). Companies like Booz Allen, Bain, McKinsey, all train you to be good at something. Train you in consulting, doing it their way. But here, I do 'stuff' and i get better at 'stuff', but no one really is looking for an expert 'stuff' doer.

Actually, we did some business development, where all of us were trying to do marketing for our practice. I did 99% of the work worked in a team, to develop marketing brochures and material for our practice. EVERYONE loved it. My team, our practice lead, all the big execs, except big CEO and his marketing contractor company. They of course did not want to be replaced by internal workers. I stayed up doing what i believe to be FULL TIME work, at night on my own time developing the material. It did not go through, and the ended up using the marketing companies work. Wow, over 100hrs of work for nothing. I love it. (though i loved doing it and the team work (little that we had, that intra-preneurship of making our practice known).

I do have goals. I want to use my creativity, my skills, my quality workmanship, my knowledge. I want to make a difference, be noticed (not lavished and praised, but recognized for my work). I want to be respected.

I get NONE of this where I am. What i meant about the meeting and not 'walking with someone'. They did not wait for me, because i am the little guy. They were too good to walk with me. I dont use ANY of my skills from college. (BS in Computer Engineering, also took tons of business marketing classes). I cant use my analytical thinking that much.

i guess i am low on the totem pole. So i have to start my way up bc thats just the way it is... seems like a waste, say if you have michael jordan as the water boy. just because he is young. Can't i be Lebron James? Though I think i am the water boy, but also in the wrong sport.

I am searching for the right sport and right position.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 04:58 PM   #16
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Re: Identity Crisis

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Originally Posted by vvsonikvv
I do have goals. I want to use my creativity, my skills, my quality workmanship, my knowledge. I want to make a difference, be noticed (not lavished and praised, but recognized for my work). I want to be respected.
You can't really get these things in corporate america as far as I know. Certainly not on a regular basis unless you work way harder than you get paid which is ultimately counterproductive and still gets your coworkers jealous of you and even mad at you for setting the bar too high.

dory36 had a story that illustrates effort versus respect quite well: Way back when, he ported (reprogrammed for a different type of computer) a buch of software to create the optimal work environment for a particular high roller. He didn't even notice. However, he had trouble with a yes/no prompt; dory36 had him try a capital "Y" instead of lower case, and it worked. For that the guy thought he was a genious.

The moral of the story is that people discount your hard work because they think it's your job and probably don't understand how hard or easy it is, anyway. The way to get ahead is to get noticed for stupid little things like capital "Y"s or pretty fluffy PowerPoint presentations or rearranging the coffee sugar packets so they don't get wet or whatever. People who schmooze get noticed and thought of during review time and raise time. See all the commercials on TV? Corporate America is the same. Show them shiny pictures and fluffy soft descriptions of what you do ("Tastes Great!") instead of boring them with your proud details, because unfortunately they don't really care about your details. Or do like me and find your own sources of satisfaction and take care of your work to a level that's above many others (an easy task these days) and don't work 90% harder for 10% more reward.

Hard work makes the managers give you things they want done because they trust you'll do it, but that's your job so you don't really get the added respect when it comes to raises or bonuses. They'll certainly miss you when you're walking out the door, but until then you'll get no love.

Your goals will have to come from your own pride in your work and occasional notice by a coworker or customer. If anyone knows different, please post!
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 05:32 PM   #17
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Re: Identity Crisis

BigMoneyJim is spot on. In Corporate America, working your butt off gets rewarded with.... more work Most important thing I've learned in life is that you have to be more than the job. Your company has no loyalty to you, no matter how many nice things they may say (outside of a review of course!) That's not to say you shouldn't take pride in your work. Just don't get carried away and set yourself up for disapppointment.

However, in regards to your not knowing what your job is or what you do. A company can't give you that. You need to find it yourself. Do you want to be the guy who works the copy machine? If that's all you do, that's who you'll be. So blaze your own trail and make the most of your time at work. Don't let silly reviews help you decide your success or your ability.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 05:46 PM   #18
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Re: Identity Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvsonikvv
... Wow, over 100hrs of work for nothing. I love it. (though i loved doing it and the team work (little that we had, that intra-preneurship of making our practice known).

I do have goals. I want to use my creativity, my skills, my quality workmanship, my knowledge. I want to make a difference, be noticed (not lavished and praised, but recognized for my work). I want to be respected.
Welcome to the REAL world of Corporate life. Consultants are paid BIG $$ to tell a company what they already have been told by their own people but since they are now paying more for the information...it suddenly becomes credible.

I assume you are looking for a new position outside your company. There ARE some much better companies out ther as you named and many have good programs for cross training and job sharing. Find one and give them a try. Staying where you are to be the department Water Boy is not going to get you where you want to be according to your description of the place.

Good luck and good hunting.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 06:29 PM   #19
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Re: Identity Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvsonikvv
I do have goals. I want to use my creativity, my skills, my quality workmanship, my knowledge. I want to make a difference, be noticed (not lavished and praised, but recognized for my work). I want to be respected.
I know I already responded to this exact quote, but I have something to add. My most fulfilling experience in the past 3 or so years WRT the above goals was converting this forum software a year ago. It had nothing to do with work. The forum was getting glitchy with the volume of users and posts...a problem. I considered and researched the alternatives (my creativity skills, knowledge) and proposed some changes. dory36 gave me access to the new server to set it up, and it worked great (quality workmanship) and everybody was duly impressed (respect, recognition and even lavished and praised for a bit). I don't take credit for what the forum is, but I still think it's neat that it's still nicely bumping along nearly 100,000 posts later on the work I did.

I couldn't do such a thing at the large corporation I work at. I smoothed out all the local problems over 3 years ago and am now just maintaining. I can't introduce new production applications, and the corporation is so big now I doubt they'd take a suggestion under advisement, and even if they did *I* wouldn't be the one to implement it. I've introduced some local nonproduction stuff, but it is largely for my own conveniene and amusement...I don't get recognition for just how neat some of the stuff is. I've been talking with various levels of management for a year or two about my desire to move back; I now realize they've just been jerking my chain all along, and it's worked as it's kept me here up to a year longer than I might have if they just said it ain't gonna happen.

Some other examples of accomplishments that only I know about are two problems that I resolved that would almost certainly have made it to V.P. level to sort out the conflict. I shortcutted the process with a recommendation in one case and directly contacting the responsible party (a rather unusual thing in a large corporation) in another. But nobody but me even realizes I did that.

Interestingly, the forum thing and babbling about web pages in subsequent months has a few people asking me about making web pages, so it may actually lead to a side gig. I don't know if there's a moral in that yet, but I'll let you know in a few years.
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Re: Identity Crisis
Old 05-05-2006, 07:22 PM   #20
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Re: Identity Crisis

Quote:
Welcome to the REAL world of Corporate life. Consultants are paid BIG $$ to tell a company what they already have been told by their own people but since they are now paying more for the information...it suddenly becomes credible.
Q: What's the definition of a "consultant?"
A: An ordinary guy a long way from home.


But seriously...

Sounds like you do have very clear personal goals, vvsonikvv, but that still doesn't mean you have to satisfy them inside a corporation.

That being said, I know that many people advise you to take a big company out of college, and it sounds as though you might have done just that. Your experience sounds a LOT like mine right now -- there are 300,000 people in this corporation at last count. The idea that any on of us (with the possible exception of the CEO) is completely expendible is laughable.

I actually took another path -- I joined a small tech company out of business school -- I was employee #151. I got complete control over the Marcom department -- spent many hours building that virtually from the ground up, and got high praise and raises to go along with that. My stuff was so good we got letters from clients saying "i finally get what you guys do now!" those letters are still in my portfolio.

You might try a smaller company, either now or when you've taken advantage of every possible training program your current employer can deliver. (You might, for example, tell you boss that your unrealistic self-review might not be accurate today, but you want to make it accurate -- what can she offer to help you get there?) Take that education and experience to a small company and wow them with your own brand of hands-on, get-it-done energy. At your age, it's not important that you get respect - it's vital that you get EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE that you can sell for more to someone else.

Another way to go is to become an entrapreneur, either now or later. If you're that dedicated, why not feather your own nest, and not someone else's? Again, get all the training you can, meet all the clients you can, and build a network and a business.

Final note: I got a 20% raise at my little company the first year, a 10% raise the second year, and the third year... I was laid off with 20% of the rest of the workforce!!! No matter what you do the market environment rules. Again, it's nothing personal. I did walk away from that job with a wealth of knowledge -- and that has made all the difference.


Caroline





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