Stop proving yourself to others.
We often try to do things which might impress others. These things happen mostly at work. We usually try a lot to impress our manager — colleagues to gain some popularity. Prove to our manager that we are giving a lot of effort, hoping that we get a good increment. Is it essential to do something which is not right about our character?
Working hard with dedication is a good thing. There is nothing wrong in expecting to get credit for the job you have done. But sometimes, even we know what we were asked to do is not rational; we never take stand for it. Why? Because we are afraid of the impact it might have if we take a stand against someone, whose opinion or recommendation is given a more significant weightage in the organization. It might lead to negative feedback for us.
Why does this happen in the first place? I’ll share my own experience — the time when I had such a crisis in my life. What I did to avoid it; did my decision helped me?
Every phase of my work experience has a different experience, and each one of them made me learn something. I initially started working with a startup, just after graduation. Being new to this, I struggled initially, but gradually I blended well with the system. Since it was an early-stage startup, I was being paid less than the market standards. But I was happily working there. I worked there for about 4 years, learned a lot of things. I was in love with the work environment, the office culture and my super excellent colleagues. It was just like a family to me.
Then the startup got acquired by one of the competitors, with the complete team. We got a great hike, almost double. I got pumped up with this change and started trying to be good at my work here. I never had an experience of structured employee hierarchy. Basically, I’m speaking of working under a ‘Manager’. There’s nothing bad in that unless you have horrible luck.
I have always heard from my friends how managers treat them and hate their managers for some random reasons. I used to make fun of them, but now it’s my turn. And unfortunately, I started to experience such difficulties.
In this situation, I could have raised a concern with the upper management people. Still, I ignored them tried harder to make it up with my manager. Though my intentions were obvious. I wanted to prove myself better in the team by working harder and harder.
I started to take up every task assigned without even asking a single question. The manager started giving me jobs late in the evening, and eventually, this extended till midnights as well. Still, I remained silent, thinking, this is just a phase due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and all. It will pass. Everything will be alright.
But this never changed. I was literally burned out after working 10 to 12 hours every day. Working hours were also odd; I used to get the tasks in the afternoon around 5 O’clock, and I used to work late till 4 AM. I became very frustrated and irritated. I started falling ill very often. Even when I took sick leave, I also used to get persistent calls, which made me more annoyed.
Then one day, I confronted my manager. And it worsened the situation. It was just 5 months of my joining. My manager started creating a bad reputation for me within the team.
I got pissed and started looking for jobs. It was for the first time in 5 years I’m looking for a change. I was very cautious while looking for a job. It took me around 2 months to get a job which somewhat matched my criteria.
I have often seen this quote, and I believe that it’s true to some extent.
“People leave managers, not companies.”
When we’re employed, our company or organization wants us to do our job. If we’re happy and free, we do a better job. So when I joined the new company, I joined with a clear mind, forgetting what had happened.
Don’t let the pain of an imperfect past hinder the glory of your fabulous future
Today I have completed the 3 months probation period with the new company. I don’t have any complaints, yet. I am happy working here. Though I have met very few people in person, I have almost met everyone virtually. Here there’s a culture of monthly virtual meetups, various events and activities that provide many opportunities to get connected with people; even in different teams. And the best thing I have seen until now is, here they have a very transparent feedback system. No single person’s feedback can affect your performance review. The weightage is equally divided among different levels of managers, your team members, and colleagues from other teams.
PS: My opinion is completely based on my personal experience. And I’m not in favour of generalizing this particular opinion. I currently work with a really wonderful manager; a cheerful team and energetic management.