When Things Fall Apart… They REALLY Fall Apart.February 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Career angst | 17 Comments
So turns out Deborah’s question about if work was okay was a good one.
Ultimately, the auditors classified the Friday afternoon issue as “noise.” But. My boss was angry that he had to have the conversation with them on Friday afternoon without me there. For that? Honestly, I can’t blame him. He was blindsided. I was too.
But until yesterday, I had no idea how angry he was.
I may have mentioned that before Christmas he sat me down and told me that I didn’t work enough hours. And when I mentioned in our meeting yesterday that I actually changed my hours so that I am now working 10 hour days here when Charlie Brown started his new job?
His answer? Not good enough.
You see, it’s a FLEXIBILITY thing. If something blows up at 5pm, I need to be here, fixing it. Not leaving to pick up Lucky from daycare because my husband now commutes to Rhode Island and just can’t make it in time.
So last week, when I had to split days at home because Lucky was sick… and I got on a plane for a planned (and approved trip) to New Orleans… well, that didn’t sit well with him.
And he took it as confirmation that I don’t care about my work. And the issues came up isn’t human error, it’s because I don’t spend enough TIME on work.
Now, see – from my perspective, the issues that came up are a result of a new system and trying to build a new process around this new system.
I own my mistakes. I know that when I am balancing a lot of work and under a LOT of deadlines, I sometimes miss details. I have a MUCH stronger big picture orientation than I have in the details.
I get around that particular character flaw by auditing EVERYTHING; doing something, putting it down, and then auditing it later.
And for this area? It was new. I SHOULD have built a more rigorous self-review process into this area from the very get go. I didn’t.
So I went into my meeting yesterday with what I thought was a very objective view of the issue. I had the root cause and a plan to improve it. Bad process. Get better. Get help reviewing. Move forward.
And instead, we went right back into the discussion of the fact that I don’t work enough hours. And that I’m lucky that this isn’t my annual review. He asked me straight out why he shouldn’t put me on a performance plan* right now. And that I need to spend the next three months working hard to gain back his confidence.
I was honest. I told him that I haven’t felt this inadequate at a job in a really, really long time.
Thing is. I don’t HAVE the flexibility for work. I can’t just drop my family obligations to stay late when something like this crops up. I need to get my work done within the hours that I can devote to work and move on. I have a husband with a busy career too, we are trying to juggle the needs of our family and son with the resources we have.
But there’s more to it, too. I was a GOOD auditor. I never once questioned my knowledge or ability to do my job. I hated the hours, and the demands, and always having more work than I knew what to do with. I hated the compliance aspect of a lot of my job.
At my current job? I question my ability.
And I told him that. I told him that I spent a lot of time in the quarter trying to fix issues, and I went into it feeling pretty good about the work I had put into the area, and was frustrated because it ends up always being something I didn’t expect would pop up.
And I told him that I had no idea that our auditors felt the way they did, I had no inkling they were going to sit him down on Friday, and if I had known I would have made sure he was more prepared.
And somehow, it was surprising to him that I felt this way. Like he had drawn some conclusion that I didn’t care about doing a good job and let him clean up my mess because, well, it’s easier, right?
Even though I spent Saturday working and emailing both he and a coworker, putting in work on fixing the process so we can move forward.
At the end of the day, it’s clear to me that in order to meet the criteria to succeed at this company, I need to be more flexibile with my work hours. And make sure he KNOWS that I’m here, fighting fires when they crop up.
And you know something?
I don’t want to.
I suppose I could hire a nanny to pick Lucky up from work, or have an emergency backup plan with my next door neighbor or SIL in case this happens again.
But I don’t have the desire, the drive to do that. I don’t want to live to work. I want to work to live.
I’ve been exploring going out on my own; cobbling together consulting arrangements with two people I know who have their own accounting business. Working 3-4 days a week at different clients. Self-employment.
Nothing’s set in stone, but there is opportunity out there.
And what I’m sitting with right now, is giving my notice next week when we file our financials, finishing my employment out here and THEN focusing on starting something on my own.
I just need to get past the voice in my head that’s saying: You Fail.
*performance plan = plan for improving performance. In my company, it’s the kiss of death, a tool used really for micromanaging, inflexibility, and building a story about how an employee just can’t meet expectations.