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  1. #1
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    Default Disillusionment with my job--helping people

    I'm not sure what I'm looking for with this post, but I work in a field where I try to help people fighting a terrible disease learn what they need to do to get the best quality healthcare possible. I've gotten two promotions in the last six months and have been doing really well professionally. Now this last promotion is turning out to be something absolutely different from what I expected and I feel so profoundly disappointed and feel this sense of grief because what I'm supposed to accomplish is such a good and noble thing, but now I'm not really given the tools to do the job justice. I feel like I'm just a token person put on the project because I have a good reputation and when I'm honest about what I can and can't accomplish, no one really wants to hear it. It's like I just crashed face-first into reality--that a lot of people don't really think this project is nearly as important as I do--that maybe we're doing it to please a higher up person in our organization. I don't know how to handle this reality crashing into my idealism. I'm so disappointed and I don't want anyone at work to ask how it's going because now I've learned from management that the only correct answer is some variation of "Great." I feel miserable and part of me wants to take back my acceptance, but then I feel responsible to the people I'm trying to help to do as good of a job as I can do because maybe even if it's not enough it will impact them in some helpful way. It's just so disappointing and I'm having a hard time coming to grips with it. My manager is such a difficult person--angry, insecure--and I'm spending more time managing her difficult personality and her dislike for a consultant that we just signed a contract with (to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars). How do I manage this? I'm always a positive and optimistic person and now I don't want to even say hi to anyone. I just want to bury myself in my desk and get as much done as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight?

  2. #2
    Member cn1234567890's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grendiecat View Post
    I'm not sure what I'm looking for with this post, but I work in a field where I try to help people fighting a terrible disease learn what they need to do to get the best quality healthcare possible. I've gotten two promotions in the last six months and have been doing really well professionally. Now this last promotion is turning out to be something absolutely different from what I expected and I feel so profoundly disappointed and feel this sense of grief because what I'm supposed to accomplish is such a good and noble thing, but now I'm not really given the tools to do the job justice. I feel like I'm just a token person put on the project because I have a good reputation and when I'm honest about what I can and can't accomplish, no one really wants to hear it. It's like I just crashed face-first into reality--that a lot of people don't really think this project is nearly as important as I do--that maybe we're doing it to please a higher up person in our organization. I don't know how to handle this reality crashing into my idealism. I'm so disappointed and I don't want anyone at work to ask how it's going because now I've learned from management that the only correct answer is some variation of "Great." I feel miserable and part of me wants to take back my acceptance, but then I feel responsible to the people I'm trying to help to do as good of a job as I can do because maybe even if it's not enough it will impact them in some helpful way. It's just so disappointing and I'm having a hard time coming to grips with it. My manager is such a difficult person--angry, insecure--and I'm spending more time managing her difficult personality and her dislike for a consultant that we just signed a contract with (to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars). How do I manage this? I'm always a positive and optimistic person and now I don't want to even say hi to anyone. I just want to bury myself in my desk and get as much done as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight?
    I'm sorry you're in that position :sad: Really, all I can see that you can do is quit/go back to your old job, or wait until your hag manager quits/move up in the ranks until you can tell her what to do...Maybe try getting the people who don't really care more hands on up close and personal and emotionally involved in the project. Have them meet people with the disease?,etc.
    MTBI:E/INFP...Socionics:ENFP...7w6 sx/so...Autonomy, Caution, Perceptiveness...


  3. #3
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    Also sorry to hear this, Grendiecat. I was once in a job I was really miserable in. My personality clashed with that of the manager there like anything. The boss would do everything by the book, everything in straight lines and boxes, and how dare you try to use some creativity and initiative? I was losing so much confidence that I knew I just had to leave. I enjoyed the actual work I was doing, but the robotic style of working I was expected to adhere to was killing me slowly. I did leave. I didn't have a job for a few months, but I did find another one and I'm very happy now.

    Not saying that this would necessarily be the best solution for you as well, but just sharing my experiences and insight with you. Hope things work out for you.

  4. #4
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Hey grendie! I've been meaning to get to this. I'm going to share my experience in this situation and hopefully it will be of some use to you. Really long post ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by grendiecat View Post
    How do I manage this? I'm always a positive and optimistic person and now I don't want to even say hi to anyone. I just want to bury myself in my desk and get as much done as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight?
    The first step I took when this began at my current job is I went to my boss. At the very least this will help you create a trail of what you've done to improve your situation. Even if your boss is not receptive, if you go to Human Resources or over your boss's head they'd ask you if you've spoken to your immediate supervisor yet. And if your boss finds out you went to someone else before you went to them that may create a bunch of other drama. So this is a formality, but sometimes just telling the person what's up will save you future grief. You'll also be doing this for yourself. Getting those feelings out of you is a big relief.

    How receptive your boss is to these kind of things will determine your approach when you speak to them. MBTI helped me in this situation because my boss is an INFP and even though we weren't (and sometimes still don't) communicating well I could tell she was still receptive to my outlook. First, I scheduled a formal appointment and didn't do a casual "Do you have a few minutes?" thing with my boss. I did this because I wanted to signal that this is serious business. Nor did I want to spring the conversation on her and have her feeling unprepared which would affect the way she responded to me if she felt like she was put on the defensive. When I scheduled the meeting I told her what it was in reference to so she'd be prepared herself.

    When I had my initial meeting with my boss I wrote my grievances down to order my thoughts because I tend to ramble and forget my point. I'd thought about the meeting for at about a month so I could have enough occurrences of where I felt I was having obstacles. I also tried to neutralize my feeling language and connect why the occurrences where affecting my motivation and consequently my output. Honestly, some employers couldn't give a flying fcuk what your motivation is as long as you get the work done. They don't care why, they just want results. Given that you're in a non-profit and a patient advocate at that, hopefully your organization will be more receptive to these underlying causes of poor performance. You know your workplace atmosphere so you'd determine that best. If you think that this particular approach won't work, scrap it and try another.

    My first meeting with the boss was horrible! It actually increased tensions between us for awhile. Once again, MBTI helped. My boss hates supervising people. She basically expected to leave me to my own devices and let me do my thing. But I wasn't properly trained enough to be at that point. I wanted a mentor relationship until I was able to do things on my own and I wasn't comfortable yet making decisions without her input. It also didn't help that she isn't a very clear communicator. But overtime I've come to understand what she really means when she says what things she wants and I now know to ask certain questions to get the information out of her that I need to do my job.

    So after the unsuccessful first meeting, I was pretty discouraged. I started coming to work late and taking two days to do something I could've done in two hours. This lasted for another month. You don't want to do that! You give them ammunition to come at you. So make sure you're on your a-game so you will have as little as possible to be thrown at you for your next round. When I realized this wasn't really fair and I wasn't helping my own situation any I then went to HR to figure out the next step. My HR department was averagely helpful. That really didn't go anywhere, but the most important thing was the tensions had rebuilt again between my boss and I and I needed an verbal outlet. And once again this helps with your paper trail if ever anything else comes up.

    Another meeting with the boss (a little better), my motivation went back up. Then finally my boss started to figure me out, which is good! I'd generally felt like at that point I was twisting around her, anticipating her, but she didn't anticipate me at all. I noticed she began to be more verbally affirming with me and I did start to feel better. This is where MBTI helps you. If you're an ENFJ and you need that affirmation or some positive manifestation of the good work you're doing, don't feel bad for needing it. It's not anything wrong with that. And then you've got to work with your boss in getting her to keep giving you that. Evidently your organization thinks you're a valuable employee because you've been promoted twice in 6 months! Put some of the burden on them, ask them what tools and resources will they give you to help you be successful at your job. Maybe EPs are better at scraping something out of nothing, but I know I certainly don't work that way and when I feel like I have to it demotivates me.

    Even though things improved I still had to bring up some other issues to my division director. I asked to have a meeting with the division director, my boss, and myself. Even though I don't think my boss liked it (and through all this crap my boss never once initiated any meeting with me!!) things have been so much better since the final meeting. We still have rough spots but the overall atmosphere has improved.

    You can do all this stuff but if your boss is a poor manager and the support is absent from your organization for you to do your job you may have to rethink. There have been a couple of people at my job who have asked to be relieved of their promotions and duties because there are structural problems. Sometimes these problems don't manifest until you move higher up the ranks. And also you may have to combat your organization's culture that may be resistant to change or comfortable with the status quo.

    Questions:
    What's the turnover in this position and how successful have other people been in the same position?
    Can you take an extended vacation just to gather yourself and reassess?
    Are there any resources available to help with employee burnout?
    What's your investment in this position? Is it worth it in the end?

    I hope this helps!

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