Thursday, December 24, 2009

ISIS (Finishing School) Morning Walk Sessions - Are you not Happy at your Workplace – Survive or Quit?

Are you not Happy at your Workplace – Survive or Quit?

Where do we spend most of our life time? Is that with family and friends or in your work place?

Which one occupies much of your life time during your prime age?

If we analyse and arrive at a conclusion most of us will say it is about the work place, working environment and co-workers, whether managers, co-workers, customers or vendors who will continuously occupy you and engage you either directly or indirectly. This means your happiness and your ability to deliver happiness to others be it family and friends or those who surround you completely depends on how happy you are in your work place.

If you are not happy at your work place then every single minute or second or going to work every day is a challenge. The causes for your unhappiness may be due to many aspects.

Your manager who is either bad or you think is bad; you feel that you are expected to deliver by stretching to a break point. It could be because you are expected to share the falling revenues by taking a pay cut which you are sure or feel is due to inefficiency of someone else not doing his . It also could be because the team that you are working is friendly or toxic. Given an option you will leave the place but you are forced to stay put it provides more than what the same effort can provide outside or you are just waiting for your Stock Options to mature or there is a carrot dangling in terms of a promotion or shift to another department which will provide an exit point.

I had faced several situations during my professional life. When I was due to a long waited promotion “one in the evaluation committee happened to be vocal and had said “He should not be promoted because he could not deliver what I wanted him to” The simple reason for the same was that I did not please him in order him to please someone in the customers place for other than professional pleasures. I was not ready to compromise the professional ethics and asked the gentleman a written instruction to carry out his wishes. This had remained with him and ensured that I lost out when it mattered.

When I found out the reasons for me losing the promotion my instant reaction was “I will see to it that he pays for it etc, etc” but my friend who was a junior and younger advice me “gnana this is not like you, keep your cool as always, there are better things waiting for you than this so be happy this did not happen”. Rather than crying foul over the matter longer I started to work towards reaching far higher than that position of customer support manager and this became the first trigger for BBSSL’s foundation. Had my friend not intervened and advised me at that instant, my bad attitude and unprofessionalism would have sabotaged me forever.

Lesson Learned: Reasons and Causes for unhappiness may be many, maintain professionalism avoid and correct a bad attitude instantly else it will be sabotaging you.

Over the last 37 years of my professional carrier, I have spent more than 80% of my life time on work place and work related activities either at home or at office. I have lived with work and gone home to sleep or take care of personal responsibilities. I am sure this applies to many of us and hence being happy at workplace makes more sense.

There is no one who does not want to be happy at all times. When someone says or feels un-happy, there is something wrong, which is elementary and the same is experienced very deep within his or her mind and impacts a lot. One should consider it as a wakeup call the moment one starts the feeling of un-happiness. If you are not heeding to the call of some part of your biology immediately, this could be the start of an infection which could take time to heal. The cause of the un-happiness may be yourself, you may be part of the problem. In that case the solution is within you. The statement “I am not happy or not satisfied with what I am doing” will do no trick.

If you are not satisfied with your job or you are not happy because your boss or your co-workers are not c o-operating with you for or any other reasons, the best way is to explore ways to enhance your contribution to the team and organization. Work hard to upgrade yourself cover that weakness that causes un-happiness to you or those around you. There are people who say “This is boring and un-interesting” and this can become the core reason to cause un-happiness. In my views no work is uninteresting; it is the way that we execute the same is un-interesting. Innovate and do the same work differently and make it interesting. In most of the cases we have no option but to do the work and what is the point in continuing to feel bad about the same. Accept the reality and make things happy going. Once you start doing this you will not allow your feeling to boil and hurt yourself and others around you.

There is an interesting advertisement for a job portal in Indian TV Channels where the name of the boss “Hari Sado” is spelled by his team members as “H for Hitler, A for arrogant etc etc” and also we have heard many a times that people writing their resignations in a fit of anger and then either suffering or taking it back. Such conditions and expression of anger will make you lose respect and authority in the organization for ever. It also can seriously impact your current job and also any future assignments in other organizations as the world is connected and the news is not confined to this place only.

You also do not know when you will work with the same person again or reporting to him in another organization. Or the same person might become your customer or part of an interview board when you appear for a plum post. At times this person might be sitting in a right position to sign a great purchase order which would have catapulted your startup to the stars.

Start identifying the signs of unhappiness early

Sleeplessness or getting angry for no reason or getting irritated on co-workers and family members, seeking comforts through sleep, alcohol are signs that you should not ignore. These are the basic signs of un-happiness at work or indicators or stress and emotional disturbances. Under such situations it is always better to seek advice from someone who you know can give you inputs, go for a long walk to analyse the cause for the symptoms. In the worst case meet a counsellor and discuss.

By facing the reality head on you can address unhappiness. I had to face a serious conflict during my career. I was in Delhi and I needed another two years there so that my wife would have completed her tenure to earn her government pension and I also my ESOPs would have matured. However overnight I was transferred to Bangalore to lower position. It has caused me one of the worst possible nightmares in life. I had gone for a long walk more than 10KM , rather taking the bus I walked my way to home.

When I reached home past mid night I knew that I needed to face the reality and reported in Bangalore two days back. I accepted everything that was thrown at with humility and happiness and did not allow the changed condition on which I had no influence to overtake me. The sense of anger on those decision makers gave way to just reason. I accepted that “The one replaced me was better than me in some way and I could not do that to remain on what I deserved”. With this approach I got over that great pain and made efforts and got my wife transferred to Bangalore and the happiness returned back.

I changed my approach to the job and the people who made the difference. These solutions made me to survive and even thrived in the job that was less than optimal to satisfy me.

It is not that I had done all this by myself. Some of my trusted friends came into consult. I had brainstormed with them all the options available to me and areas to improve my current skill set. These sessions had given me confidence to learn new skills, even go to another friend within the company asking for another position (This did not happen because the first question that he asked was “Do you like the current work, which I said yes and he gave inputs to remain and prosper in the same place). Also people gave me inputs in managing the work life balance during the period as I was not ready leave my young daughter alone.

I faced the reality head on and took actions to come on the main stream rather than allowing the serious unhappiness to sabotage me. I did develop a plan to meet the challenge, made a list of good points about remaining within the current job and a list of good people within the group. One of the good point that gave me strength the short time to commute as I could walk to office from my own house in which I never lived after purchasing three years back.

Takeaways for the day

Differentiate between what you can change and what you can't.

· Take responsibility for making a change.

· Focus on making the best of a bad situation.

· Do not assume nothing will ever change.

· Do not go at it alone

 
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