Sunday, January 26, 2014

Falling Off the Corporate Ladder

I have climbed and fallen off the corporate ladder many times in my life.  I know I'm to blame for the most part of it.  It's funny that as a forty year old I can see that now but, as a twenty something, I was blind.  However, I am still the same person and I know I can not take all the blame.   My naivety led to my greatest falls but my sound fundamentals allowed me to climb again and again and ........

I have always seen things differently than most.  Upon college graduation and my introduction into the working world, I assumed that management and higher-ups would value all opinions.  HA!  Joke was on me.  Time after time, I have spoken or emailed an opinion up the ladder.  Usually it was an idea on how to do things better or what wasn't working in the system.  I think once I hit 28, I realized that my opinions didn't matter.  I heard once that "Don't rock the boat, especially when you're standing in it."  I should've listened.  The truth is that when you're climbing the corporate ladder you have to be very careful. There's only one ladder and the person above you is liable to shit on you at any time.  I have had two managers "steal" my ideas.  One gave me some credit for it. The other... no way.  The other once told me that one idea wasn't possible but less than a month later somehow came out as one of her plans of action.  A second idea she "would consider".  Next day: BOOM!  There it was in her "observation that we need to take the direction of......"  After a thorough scrubbing and being excrement clean, I fired off an email calling her out and off the ladder and into corporate purgatory I went.

In my business career, I have had the knack for two things: 1) Being  hired into a "new" position or area 2) Being promoted too quickly.  There are problems with both of these.  "New" positions have vague descriptions of what, where and how things should be done but have insisted outcomes.  Being promoted when you are not ready only leads to frustrations, bad decisions and ultimately back at the bottom of another company.  I admit some ladders I jumped from.  I wasn't the captain and it wasn't my ship or maybe I felt I just didn't fit.  In most cases, my starting over was because I acted impulsively.

In recent years, I have been able to keep my tongue in check and emails in the draft file.  And thus, up the ladder I climb once again.  Even though falling off the ladder hurts, I have learned from those challenges.  I feel now I have certain savoir-faire.  I still have my creativity and ideas but recognize that this isn't Shane's world and my way (even though it's probably better) ain't the only way.  I, also, know that there are many agendas out there and Shane's way usually intrudes into those agendas which leads back to falling (most likely by a boot) off the ladder back to the first rung.

There is one way to keep from falling.  No matter what area you are in, you must have a mentor.  I can't tell you how you find your mentor but you will know when you find him/her.  I have been lucky to have had two great managers and had/have flourished under them.  As I continue to climb, I can look to their example and know that I'm doing the right thing.

PS:  I had written a poem on the subject but it has disappeared from my mind and from the computer over the course of time.  But I have written others close to the subject:

Blackened midnights gone
Darkend Clouds lifted
Blinding Fog Cleared
From this nightmare
I step into the sun

"Another Day"
Again the sun sets
Another day gone and yet
In the morning it will rise
And bring with it a new surprise

"Looking Up"
From the Depths of Hell I pull
I can feel the cool
I stumble and slip

I grab and hold
Looking Up

With so far to go

1 comment:

  1. I completly understand and i agree. You need a mentor or you will end up guessing. Good luck brother and God bless you and your family.--Heath Foster