bentangle

Tag: jobs

Managing Expectations

by on Sep.08, 2010, under career

After nearly four years at my current job working for ‘the man’ and over a year acting as the lead dog in my team, I’ve been officially promoted to management … though of a different team than I had recently been leading.  I’m very happy with the transition, I agree with the changes that were made, and I feel that I will rise to the challenge.  But it is impossible to avoid having some level of trepidation when taking on a new role.

I’m a tech geek.  And every job I’ve had has required me to be a creative problem-solver.  In many of them I’ve been an army of one, so while I often became accustomed to being the go-to guy, the things that I flubbed on or that slipped through the cracks often were glaringly obvious and sometimes led to breaking points (usually by my choosing, but not always).  I’ve never had a job where I could blend in.  And even if I did, I don’t know that I could.  In even the more recent roles where I have had a team, I’ve managed to stand out (in a good way, of course).  But this shift has come with some hesitancy – some of which came from me.

You see, in my last job I had become a rock star in my role.  So the powers that be felt I could easily rise to the challenge of managing something bigger.  And not knowing fully what I’d be getting myself into I leaped forward with confidence and optimism.  Unfortunately, my new role was equal parts avoiding doing the things I used to do so well and being a scapegoat for anything that didn’t go well as a result.  It wasn’t a good experience.  I was fortunate enough not to get canned and ended up stepping back to my previous role after a lack-luster 90-day run as a Project Manager (they realized that the title of Scapegoat would generally be unappealing to most comers).  But as they say, with some things there is no going back – while I certainly climbed back up to rock-star performance levels and was greatly appreciated by most, some members of management didn’t know how to drop a grudge.  So I looked for my next opportunity.

Luckily that next opportunity was where I am today and my only regret is that I hadn’t discovered this company sooner.  And after I got through that initial ‘learning the ropes’ phase, I quickly attained rock-star status once again.  But any time that management came up as a career path, I gave it pause.  This job was too good and too important for me to fail again as I had before.  And the last thing I wanted was to shift to a role where I didn’t get to do the trench-work that I so enjoy (seriously!).

But this shift now is different, and it’s better.  First, I’ve had a good stretch of time to adjust to being able to delegate to and manage other resources as a team.  And as such I’ve stretched my own skill-set to be able to think as a member and leader of a team rather than a single point of service.  So now as I make this transition, I know what I’m getting into, I know what is expected of me, and I know that I can rise to the challenges I’ll face in this role – most importantly I know the team that I’m leading and I know that they won’t let me down in this transition either.  Plus I know that even with this change, I will still be allowed and even expected to ford some trenches of my own.

Am I excited?  Yes.  Am I nervous?  Definitely.  Am I worried that I’ll go down in flames?  Not in the least.  I know where I stand, I know what is in store for me, and I know that I’m not walking this new path alone.  What will I do when shit starts hitting the fan?  I’ll manage.  I am now, in fact, ‘the man’ (well, one of them at least).

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Here’s Where the Story Ends

by on Nov.20, 2008, under About Me, career, money

Today I lost a friend.  He is still alive, and we are still friends (I assume), but our relationship will not likely ever be the same as it was … well … as early as this morning.  This morning I arrived at the office, setup my laptop at my desk and, as I often do, walked to the office next door where my friend sits to chat while my laptop came to life.  I found him enjoying some music that reminded him fondly of a cruise he had been on last year (relevant as he will be going on another cruise in a matter of days).  We chatted about the music, discussed some work-related matters, and I departed back to my own office to go about my business.  The sad irony is that the song he was enjoying was one by the Sundays whose name is the title of this post.  Less than 30 minutes later, he had been laid off and escorted out of the office. (continue reading…)

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