Not The Best Year Yet.

Shortly after I was given a new boss said new boss announced that he wants me to leave the company. The company is, from all appearances, protecting themselves and providing some sort of a performance plan to document any and all mistakes, but it seems that no matter what I do right now I’m dead man walking. Needless to say, such a feeling isn’t exactly the most inspiring when it comes to driving further engagement and one’s best work.

At the moment, whether it’s my paranoia or accurate analysis of said situation, I’m hypersensitive to each criticism flung my way by my boss who is not at all supportive and who clearly wants me out. Yesterday. I’m pretty sure he’s overreacting to every tiny error on my part just to build his case to throw me out the door, and there isn’t one person willing to step up and protect me. To be fair, I am not the ideal person for this role, and I’ve struggled with the position both from the day-to-day tasks of the role, as well as in building a team (let’s just say the few hires I did make ended up embarrassingly failures before they even started… and then they never even started!)

Right now I’m in this pickle of a predicament where the only type of roles I’d be considered for are more senior level roles in my particular field/area of my field – yet, those are the jobs where I feel like I’m not the right fit. Sure, I can brainstorm strategy and come up with some good ideas – but I’m not a good team builder and I’m certainly not the best when it comes to ongoing detail-oriented execution. Clearly I can do well enough in an interview(s) to convince certain types of executives that I’m the IT girl that is going to skyrocket their business to success. Then reality hits. And it’s only a matter of time before all the shit hits all the fans. And I’m back to square one.

Then again, I tell myself – maybe this time, it will be different. After all, I’ve learned quite a lot in this role, many things that looking back I could have been much more effective doing if I had such insights before playing a fast-and-loose game of trial-and-error. Maybe I wouldn’t be any better at the execution but I’d be better at staffing up early, hiring for people to do the things I’m not good at (vs trying really hard to prove to myself I can do everything when clearly that’s a recipe for absolute disaster.) Maybe with a fresh opportunity and a growing company I can actually do a good job.

That is the futile optimism that continues to lurk relentlessly in the crevices of my foolish skull. My mental illness, inability to sleep on a regular basis, and general existential emptiness ensure that I run blindly off cliffs in any which direction all while telling myself “I CAN DO THIS.” (No, I can’t. And, fuck it, that’s ok to admit.)

Managing people is it’s own skill and personality type. It’s rewarded handsomely with much better salary and benefits than just managing yourself. It also means that you have to somehow have the ability to take pride in your team’s success and take on some of that success for your own bragging rights (which are necessary to keep you employed vs having a younger, faster, better and eager employee who earns significantly less than you do take your place) and manage to buffer team members who are not performing as well from the powers that be, falling on the sword, so to speak, for those who aren’t performing, and/or figuring out how to jump in and fix shit that you may or may not have any idea how to do. Management sucks.

All of the mind games of corporate life – even in a startup – are too much for my INFP psyche. I’m just a sensitive sap who should be an artist or novelist but instead is writing a series of entertaining yet unfinished whitepapers and shaking hands at conferences silently begging her social anxiety to shut the fuck up. It’s no longer just a cute recurring nightmare of my 20s, this is my life – my career – the entirety of the next however many years I face ahead of me until retirement, and I don’t know what it is that I can do, in a stable sense, to have some kind of sane life where I’m not desperately looking for a new job every 6 to 12 months and ending up right back where I started.

You know?

 

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Hang in there.

    Having read your blog for a while as well, it seems to me that now would be a great time to look hard for a job and try and find something now. Its always easier to find a job when you have one than to find a job without a job.

    I too would echo the thought that maybe finding a bigger company where you would have a full department that you could lean on and learn from than a small company might suit you best.

    A few years ago I also went thru a career crisis where I felt like i was neither fish nor fowl. Too highly paid to learn something new and too little experience in the areas I wanted to get to.

    I would get serious about the job hunt now. Good luck to you.

  2. Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents says:

    If they are putting you on a performance improvement plan, you could have anywhere between 3 months to a year before they fire you. If I had to bet, it’d probably be around 6.

    My unsolicited advice? Go to a bigger, more well established company in a lateral (or even perhaps slightly lower) role. They will assumably have more resources to train you and help you get better than what start ups typically offer. There should also be enough redundancy built into the staffing that if you make an error, it doesn’t end up being the catastrophic event it ends up being seen as in smaller firms. Lastly, if you pick the right spot, you’re wayyyy more likely to see work life balance, which I expect will be of importance to you as you expect to start having a family soon.

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