Thursday, August 14, 2008

Claiming your power

Boyoboy, the universe is certainly busily stirring the pot these days, not just in our lives, but from what I've heard from friends and family, it's pretty much everywhere.

Not sure what astrological things are happening to exacerbate the disturbance -- Mercury, my favorite culprit, is direct for another month. I know there's been a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse, and the Perseid meteor shower has been going on the last couple of weeks, but there's gotta be something else.

Much of the turmoil is about power: who we are, what we are about, how we are sometimes challenged to remember that, especially when we are treated poorly or belittled or our contributions are not acknowledged to be of value.

Been there, done that. Numerous times in previous lives, and even some in this one.

Ethical people with a strong work ethic are not perpetrators here, but especially in the corporate world, there are all too many management types who have eyes only on the money and don't really care how they treat customers, employees, or vendors.

I believe you either have ethics or you don't. If you don't, it's not likely you're suddenly going to acquire them, unless you're Paul on the road to Damascus and God speaks to you.

That kind of management type probably wouldn't listen even if God did speak. Or would dismiss Him/Her. The kind of manager -- or person -- I'm referring to believes in just one thing: him/herself...Oh. Yeah... and money.

In my last corporate job, we had a big reorganization where some 25 or so were let go in one day. The few remaining marketing/creative types were kept because management thought we had the skill set to make a transition to a new organizational style. I'd made the cut.

My directive? My one and only directive was to "take marketing to the next level."

What was that "next level'? Nobody defined it. None of us in marketing knew what they wanted. Nobody in management could explain beyond that.

The result was that for the better part of a year, we all duplicated efforts rather than teaming up, we had different styles for different departments rather than creating an overall brand for the entire product line, resulting in confusion about what was used when and where. We tried to meet and discuss things, but it never worked because nobody would rock the "next level" boat.

In one meeting, I remember vividly, I let my frustration show at all of us going in such wildly different directions. And then I was accused by my manager of being difficult to work with and inflammatory (he had heard this third hand from someone who WASN'T EVEN IN THE MEETING.)

Oh, I tried to stick it out there until the end of the year. The goals I had to set as part of the review process were belittled, even though I took them from what management had said they wanted (the little bit that they did). I was plunked into a job that didn't remotely use my strengths with people who didn't respect me and who went behind my back to vendors with whom I was dealing. When I questioned --very strongly -- the ethics of using a package logo that was from a VERY POWERFUL SOFTWARE COMPANY on a product that had NOT been tested or certified as compliant with that software (and the process and consequences were clearly outlined on VERY POWERFUL SOFTWARE COMPANY'S Web site), I was ignored and my concerns were laughed at (even though I was the one who signed off on the package design and who would be the first one they came after).

I got sick. Really sick, physically, but I believe a great deal of it was because I was so mentally worn down and stressed out from trying to function ethically in an unethical place. Went on disability for the rest of the year. And they canned me about a month and a half into it, along with another 20 or so people in yet another reorg.

I was SO happy that I did not have to go back for anything more than to clean out my desk (which I'd mostly cleaned out before I got sick).

Being told you are worthless, that you can't do anything right, never being given a compliment about your work, never having your hard work acknowledged in any way -- never even being spoken to pleasantly, even to say "good morning" does a number on your emotions, on your own feelings of self-worth and value.

You begin to feel that "they" are out to get you, when in truth, they probably rarely notice you. You begin to question your own competence and even skills you know are rock solid.

That's abuse of a sort, folks. That's giving away your power to people who are NOT WORTH it, who don't value you.

Take it back.

There are some good links about power and abuse that I've found...and I'm not done with this topic.

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