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How this started….

In the beginning, there was a workplace that appeared normal from the outside……

The first day that I started my career, I was going to change the world, and I had no doubts that I would make a difference. I had the education. I had the work ethic. I wanted to learn (because I was Girl watching the starsstraight out of college and knew nothing). I believed in ALL of the things that we were taught by our parents, grandparents, Bible School, etc. such as be kind, be respectful, the best finishes first, etc.

During my eighteen years of being a professional engineer in this world, I came to realize that this is not how the world operates. Not only was I wrong, but I was also vastly outnumbered by people who lived and looked at life way different from me.

So to embrace the madness and to conserve a portion of my sanity, I wanted to write about the transformation from the professional who I thought I was going to be to the professional that I became.

Maybe this will help others who are still trying to figure out why their bosses don’t seem to care if the company loses money or find themselves inundated with coworkers who complain constantly about how much work they have to do but yet spend 3 hours migrating between offices like African Wildebeests yammering on about what was on the latest episode of the Bachelor.

This blog is about how to survive in a Dysfunctional Work Place. Nothing in this blog will be found in the latest “How to be a better Manager/Leader” Book or by searching the internet for endless hours trying to find some sort of article, chat room, or blog where people can find advice on how to survive a more non-traditional workplace.  This blog is about a real place with real people.

And if you find yourself reading this one day, I truly hopes it helps (and hopefully at the same time, I will be lying on a private beach, sipping an alcoholic beverage after I just said “Fuck It”, quit my job, and got on the first plane out of that hell hole).

Sorry, I will get back on target.

So lets begin with a Work Place that refuses to put any policies in writing……I believe if the company did have an Employee Manual, it would go something like this….

Book secret

 

Want to Work a Problem Out with the Boss? Empty your office…..

In this dysfunctional workplace, management periodically disappears for stretches of time. People that view their job as a job versus a career find these times to be quite beneficial to catch up on personal errands, internet shopping, etc. shopping cart race

For those that view their jobs as careers, you really have to adapt a mentality of “You are on your own”.

Unfortunately, there are cases where you have to track down the four managers as they control all of the key resources at the facility from computer equipment to accounting software which are, believe or not, needed to run a company. Revolutionary, I know. And well, like in life, shit goes wrong at work, and this requires that you track one of the four managers down and “strongly convince” them to do their jobs.

Group of neanderthal hunting a bison

But when the stress is high and/or the hours of sleep are few, a “career”employee will ask, “Why in the hell do things have to be this way?”. One of the common denominators for a career employee is that we will never accept “It is what it is”.

Would life be a whole lot easier if we could?

HELL, YES!!!!

Will we try to accept “It is what it is” at different points in our careers?

HELL, YES!!!!

Will it last?

OH HELL, NO!!!!

And then we break. We think if we can sit down with our manager and have a rationale conversation, then surely, the manager will see that there is a problem that if fixed, can make things better for everyone including their bottom line. Sounds great on paper, but in a dysfunctional workplace, the managers will go out of their way to keep from addressing a problem unless it directly affects them in a negative way.

Over the years, I have seen career employees employ several tactics to get their manager to have a conversation regarding issues that managers go to great extents to avoid discussing.

From catching them in the restroom where the manager cannot realistically stop what he is doing to run away….Man Stuck in Toilet Holding Help Sign - Emergency SOS

To tricking a Manager to have drinks under the illusion that you are  trying to be “pals”, and then having said Manager write down all of the things he agreed to on a paper napkin.

Tiki bar

And one tactic that has a 100% success rate in getting a Manager to have a conversation, removing all of your personal effects from your office. Managers will freak out thinking that you are quitting which would definitely impact their “I walk around and do nothing” streak.

Vase

But as they say, “Be careful what you wish for”. As no one who starts off in a career in this type of workplace can be prepared for any of the following.

RESPONSE #1 Manager will agree with everything that you say including telling you how invaluable you are to the company. All kinds of promises will be made, and you will walk out of the meeting truly believing things will change. THEN, nothing happens. You will tell yourself to be patient. You will try to talk to the manager again to “revisit” the action items that you discussed. But nothing ever changes.

RESPONSE #2: Manager will say that the issues should be addressed by you. That is what they are paying you to do. The Manager will also add how change starts from the bottom up or some other stupid management saying that they read once and manipulated for this very conversation. RESULT: Well, that just pisses you off.

RESPONSE #3: Manager will say to try the solution that you have tried before without success. This Manager believes that there is only one solution for all problems because well, that is the only answer they have. RESULT: You will walk out of the meeting wondering why did you even bother talking to this smuck?

RESPONSE #4: Manager will explain to you that you can be replaced, and how dealing with these types of issues are nothing compared to what he/she has to deal with. RESULT: This meeting can have mixed results but all are located on the anger/revenge spectrum.

So what do we do now depends on the person. For me, I enjoy my work. I actually deal with the Client more than I do my own company’s managers. Of course, this is not real difficult as the four managers have not all been at work at the same time for months now.

So, my day includes dealing with people from all walks of life from all parts of the world. Granted, that some of them can be real, high maintenance assholes, but some actually are like me and want to fix a problem versus have fourteen conference calls about who is to blame for the problem. Some days it is enough, and some days it is not.

But I will take a wash over a loss any day.