I was ready to leave.
I felt frustrated and under-appreciated. I dreaded the team meeting with the politics and drama. I’d go home and sit on the couch feeling fried and lacking energy.
The job that was supposed to bring me freedom felt like a prison sentence. I was overworked and underutilized.
But I felt afraid of what I would do next if I left, and another week would pass. I’d try to recover on the weekend while complaining about how I should leave.
I was being given more responsibility, more work, more tasks, but no real empowerment.
And the cycle continued:
- More responsibility, without the increase in pay or authority to make the necesary decisions.
- Sometimes there were small raises. But I was still doing the 6 figure work without the 6 figure pay.
- I would cautiously raise the issue with my boss and be told, “Trust me, it will work out.” “Stay here, stay.”
- More flattery and carrot sticks - “If you stay then this will change. Trust me.” “Better pay is coming.”
WILL IT REALLY CHANGE? NOPE.
You know what changed?
I had a coaching call with a guy who didn’t know me or our organization.
And I told him about the situation for 5 minutes, and I’ll always remember his words: “I’ve seen this pattern many times. Nothing is going to change. You have to.” He let me know I had to wake up to the fact that nothing was going to change but I had to change!
He helped me realize I could wait around forever or get on with living.
That was over 10 years ago. I’ve learned not to wait around on someone to make a change they will probably NEVER make.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you're not gonna get that promotion. Or the freedom to work on the project you want. Or that raise. One of your friends might say, “Just believe.” They are wrong. It won't happen.
Here’s something that helps me: Truth > Hyped Positivity
But that doesn’t mean you need to leave! Yet.
Get awesome where you are and leverage a promotion when you leave.
Move from a position of strength, not weakness.
FACE REALITY AND BE AWESOME WHERE YOU ARE.
You need to recognize the carrot stick rewards and the fake promises of change when someone shares their “hyped positivity” with you. I want you to wake up to 5 realities:
You haven’t peaked. But you do have something to learn where you are.
You have to start learning skills to be awesome and marketable. NOW. Timing matters and you have a moment to seize.
Even deeper, you need to start growing your mindset and find motivation for the growth you can experience ... where you are. This is your chance to develop your resilience.
Be awesome while you're there. Give them what they want to see. Make change happen while you build your exit plan (and be ok if it takes a year or so).
You might dynamically influence the culture and end up staying a long time.
You didn’t miss that, did you? You can influence. You can impact.
Your growth can be so dynamic that you may influence the culture and make a long run with your current company.
Either way this is your moment to develop yo self.
A HEALTHY ME MAKES A HEALTHY WE
Ideal work is not about “perfect work,” but healthy cultures with good people. These are the places we make meaning, figure out who we are, and develop our skills. The best way to begin to influence a culture to become healthy for the "we" is to start with your own health.
If you don't have a development framework you're missing an opportunity. I want to help you with that.
But for some of you it's about getting your effectiveness back. Sometimes there’s so much dumb stuff in bad company cultures that it starts to dull your ability to impact others.
Here's what I know about myself: I want to feel significant, I want to get awesome, and I want to pick what I get awesome at. I want to be at the edge of my effectiveness. I bet you do too.