Showing You’re Ready to Move Out of the Joe Job
Dark Side for Employees , Employee Stream / September 19, 2016

Showing You’re Ready to Move Out of the Joe Job In the last post, we discussed being in a joe job—that is, being underemployed where you are not able to use the full range of your skills and abilities. However, one of the best ways out is to have a reference from this job which sets you up for the one you really want. The descriptors you want your supervisor to use in a reference are: Enthusiastic Has initiative Bright Hard-working Responsible This table below demonstrates how each of these could play out in a work context. Demonstrating your promotability Trait NOT: You’re going for: Example Enthusiastic Gosh, everything is great. The people are so great. The products are outstanding. No wonder they sell so well. Adding value in your comment I think this product would be useful to younger people, too. They wouldn’t need it to lighten the load but might appreciate its convenience. Has initiative I know we’re not supposed to do it that way, but it’s stupid. My way is much better. Suggesting changes before implementing I notice we get backed up when there are a lot of customers. I could pack the purchases for everyone to…

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help!
Dark Side for Employees , Employee Stream / September 12, 2016

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help! You’re a salesclerk when you should be in the marketing department. Doing background research rather than writing the strategy. Being an assistant rather than a paralegal. Whatever it is, you’re in a job which not only doesn’t tax your skills but is downright boring. You are underemployed. You’d like to contribute at a higher level (with more money, of course). Unfortunately, early jobs in the work force often are well beneath your talents. This can also happen in summer jobs or short university job placements. How you do the job can make things worse The problem is sometimes exacerbated, however, by how people decide to do the job. Perhaps to signal their frustration, they choose to do one or all of the following: Do the work slowly or poorly; Do the report using the top page of the Google search rather than delving more deeply; Avoid checking the inventory by telling customers that everything is out on the floor; ‘Forget’ to do the menial tasks you’ve been assigned; Let co-workers pick up your slack; Communicate the work is beneath you; Talk about what you could do if the bosses weren’t so hidebound;…

Does your office have undercurrents?
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

  It can be hard to imagine that your work place has undercurrents, especially since, as I say, they are not well recognized by even the most astute office politicians. Undercurrents quiz To identify if your company does, answer the following questions: Who is influential/who gets listened to? The person with the best argument, however expressed The one whose words fit the latest strategy  Whoever shouts loudest or longest? Who gets promoted? The one who: Has the right skills and aptitudes Is one of our kind Plays golf /racket ball or drinks with the right people? How is dissent handled? Acknowledged even from nut cases. Debated. Politely listened to and then ignored Shouted down Ridiculed Listened to only from well-respected people Which is true of your company? I can say the unpopular without being ridiculed or punished It’s better to have an iffy decision than piss people off by insisting on the right one I avoid telling my boss how things really are Unless you have picked the first option for every question, you have undercurrents. And frankly, if you didn’t, I’d have trouble believing you. All organizations have them, some tow more than others, some are more underground, but…

What are the Undercurrents of the Dark Side?
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

  Last time I gave an example of a group meeting where you wanted to vote ‘no.’ But despite this and having promised a colleague Thomas to do so, you voted ‘yes’. Why did you do it? Thomas would say you chickened out. The others in the group might assume you saw the strength of their arguments. At the time, you thought it was about fear of repercussions and that the larger group had a point. Anyhow, your ‘no’ vote wouldn’t have made any difference to the outcome. While all these explanations are possible, I think there are deeper reasons. Organizational undercurrents I think you were caught up in an organizational undercurrent. Organizational undercurrents are persisting, behavior-shaping systems which operate under the radar of most people but nevertheless have a compelling influence on what and how work gets done. They can force you to do things opposite to your intention (as you did in the previous example) can have even more devastating consequences than the relatively trivial example I used. What are organizational undercurrents? There are many undercurrents but in the blog, I’ll deal in detail with five: Power. Power is the currency and driver of the company, but its…

The Dark Side of Work Revealed
Dark Side for Employees / April 15, 2016

The Dark Side of Work Revealed As I mentioned in the Introduction to the Dark Side, work places have undercurrents which are never spoken of but which determine whether you are successful or how far you go. But these undercurrents are difficult to pick up, so to illustrate, here’s a work scenario to show you how they operate. Deciding holiday schedules The deal Your manager wants to discuss holiday scheduling. Thomas comes to your cubicle. Thomas: This meeting at 2:00. I think Susie and the others are gonna snow us. YOU: Huh? Thomas: Because we’re the only two without partners— although I’m working it. Anyhow, Susie’ll suggest we do the Christmas to New Year shift. YOU: But I wanted to ski! Thomas: Exactly. We need time off even if we’re single. So, you’ll support me? YOU: Absolutely. The meeting Note: Ned is the boss, everyone else works for him. Ned: Okay, guys, who will staff December 26-31? Susie: Christmas is a family thing. I need to be with my kids. Thomas: You’re with them every day. Ned: Thomas, let Susie finish. Susie: And the kids are off so I have to be there. Edgar: Yeah, I want to spend time…