17Jul

Dishonesty

Unknown author

Unknown author

For the first time since I started this blog, I am materially aware that I have an audience.  It has stopped me from writing.  I have been through a painful experience which made me leave my job.  I have been grappling with such issues as self control, my ability to modify my environment and the effects that another person can have on me.  In some ways my experience has been at odds with my belief system, which has caused a cognitive dissonance.  As you can imagine, I have been struggling.  This does not cause me to write less.  Indeed if you know me, it actually causes me to write more.

What has caused me to write less, is this awareness of my audience and the fear that my life would be negatively effected by my work here on the blog.  There is nothing more anxiety producing than losing one’s income.  I am not willing to be a starving artist, I have too much going on in my life to stop the train for the sake of my own written word.  Trust me, I have saved the words.

Some things that have caused me concern is the idea that my old boss, who is vindictive and mean spirited, would work hard to block my efforts to find new employment.  Another concern is that, a person interviewing me (with hiring authority) would turn out to be a Trump lover.  Based on experience, I know that these things can be real and I want to avoid the effect of someone’s negative feelings on my future.

Today, I read some research about why we want to believe that the universe is just and that things happen to people because they deserve it.  It’s far easier for us to believe that the universe will treat us right if we act right.  We can then believe that we have some control over life.  We can believe that people get what they deserve, even when there is an injustice.  I have known that this is not true for many years.  The universe is full of injustice and apathy and even evil.  We humans do not have control over the universe.  We are subject to life.

Which is why, in order to thrive, we must sometimes resort to dishonesty.  I have dishonestly withheld my truth from this blog, in order to create a transition as painless as possible.  My feelings had endured enough pain and I would not be my own perpetrator.

I have been dishonest with my blog, and I hope you will forgive the lapse.  It was intentional and it is over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.

 

20Jun

Some Things I Have Learned

No matter how much I cover myself, if others want to blame me, I will be blamed.   No matter how much I cover my ass with documentation, if someone doesn’t like me, I will be wrong.

It’s important to NOT give up.  (I have not given up.)  Renew and refresh goals for the future.  My body deserves continued commitment to health…so does my mind and my pocketbook.

Preternaturally calm means “beyond what is normal or natural” calm.

Trust your instinct: you don’t have to go with the plan every time.  You just have to have a plan so that you are prepared.

Notes to Self:

Failure to support: don’t be that.

Keeping distance: sometimes you have to.

And finally ~ Abundance and Prosperity in all things.

 

27Mar

So Now, He is Dead and Gone

They met in the mid 90s when it was still cool to be a hippy.  The classical bohemian vibe meant intelligence and caring.  They met at the midtown methadone clinic that she managed, crumbling and falling, you could hear the rats running through the eaves and the attic.

He was pushing 50 and she was barely 35, always married with kids.  He was in the association that helped addicts access treatment for heroin addiction.  His passion for his cause was palpable.  He wanted to open a clinic in Ft. Myers and carried around pictures of people suffering because of their addiction.  He talked her into going to meetings.  They met monthly somewhere in the state and helped to make clear decisions that were empathetic and caring.  He didn’t like the for-profit treatment centers (his organization was non-profit) because he thought that they “sucked” money from their patients only to give it to shareholders without concern for “real” treatment.

They had friends in the state legislature and were able to get things done.  In 1999, she moved away and that was that.

About a year later, she decided to return to the work of addiction medicine.  It was a hard decision, but she realized it was still her purpose, even though she had walked away once.  She applied and applied and applied for work.  One day over the intercom at her job, she was being paged to the phone.  She rushed to pick up the phone and there he was saying, “I have this job, right down the street from your new home.”  She could hardly believe it.

For a long time, they were able to get things done.  His power (brawn) and her brain, along with his trust in her, made their work unstoppable and progressively successful.  He loved systems engineering and so did she.  No task was too small to be acknowledged.

But, Later;

Him “You have to own that.”

Her  “No I don’t, you put me in an untenable situation with a personality disordered nursing supervisor.  No matter what super-human effort I made, it was going to fail under those circumstances.”

Later;

Him “I think I made the mistake of my life, I should have asked you to marry me.  Is it too late?”

Her  “Yes, you’re drunk again, goodbye.”

Later;

Him “You made the biggest mistake, you should have gone on that fishing trip with us.”

Her “Ugh.”

Later;

Him “Go see him, Marc needs you, let him know that you care.”

Her “Ok.”

Later;

Him “I’ll promote you later, when there has been more time.”

Her “Ugh.”

Later;

Him “I have to fire her, look what she did!”

Her “She did nothing wrong, but if you want to fire her, go ahead, you have the power, so use it, but I won’t agree with you, she did nothing wrong.”

Later;

Him “I wish I could talk with you before you leave.  I want to say good-by and let you know how much you have meant to me.”

Her “Ugh. Liar”

Still, she cries.

All through the “scared years” he was there.  Ugly and mean, but he was there.

18Aug

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

The Definition of Game Playing: and What Some Call “Head Games”

I can only conjecture why people ‘play games’, I don’t understand it and I can’t identify with it.  I don’t remember ever playing head games.

According to Wikipedia it is “Psychological one-upmanship” and this definition surely describes what I see.

In the work world, we have this activity called training.  Training is a way to get the job done and to get new staff up to speed quickly.  It is an extremely beneficial activity because it instills confidence and creates efficiency.  However, at some levels in the corporation, training becomes a competition, something to prove a point.  From an external observation point withholding knowledge seems ridiculous for a number of reasons:  The first reason is that often, the perpetrator believes that s/he is proving a point about another’s intelligence or lack thereof.  This is never the case, because even if it proves difficult for the new person to complete a task unaided by support, no one ever views it the way the perpetrator wishes it to be viewed.

Sometimes this one-up-man-ship is just for self-gratification.  The person with knowledge enjoys knowing something that others do not know.  Watching others look for the information is a way to demonstrate one’s self superiority over others.

What I find most amazing about this withholding of knowledge is that, knowledge does not prove anything about intellect at all.  Knowledge, in no way, demonstrates critical thinking skills, or reasoning abilities.  Knowledge is just knowing something and something always changes over time.  This perpetrator works hard to prove how smart she is and instead proves that her intellect is lacking.  While knowledge may be power, strength is in numbers.  Sharing knowledge is the only fool proof way to maintain knowledge.

The other type of mind game is the one where I pretend to know it all and won’t consider that anyone else is correct.  From an external observation point, this is an extremely difficult stance to maintain.  Many, many people work hard to maintain a know-it-all stance.  From what I have seen and observed, the difficulty lies in the need to ignore information to the contrary of this belief “I know it all.”   This person will tell everyone how to do the chore, when the chore does not work out or the instructions prove incorrect, this person must find a reason that proves that their instructions were above reproach and must have been either misunderstood or perhaps not followed.  It is difficult to ignore all of the information that tells them that there was a mistake, but even more difficult is the need to convince others that their eyes deceive them.  Instead of the “customer is always right”, the mantra is that “the boss is always right”.  Or, in the absence of being the actual boss, just the person with a forceful personality.

As for the forceful personality: when it comes to discussing things with this person, there will be no discussion.  If in fact, you do not agree with the point of view that they favor, insults will start.  The conversation becomes harsh and ugly, because this is the behavioral fallback position of the bully (think Trump).  Again, mind games, head games and one-up-man-ship are the rules of the discussion.

I normally do not write an article about a person, it is always a conglomeration of events that keep happening that I have a need to describe.  Usually I describe to understand.  And so it is with this discussion, just a need to understand.

01Aug

Don’t Give Me Advice About Where to Find the Answer

If you don’t have the answer, just say so.  I don’t want to hear about where an answer can or should be, either you know or you don’t.

You waste my time by trying to be helpful when you don’t have the skills or the talent to actually offer help.

What is it about being nice that makes people think that by saying a few nice words that the job is actually done?  The job isn’t done until it’s done.

06Jul

Insubordinate, Incompetent or Incapable

Insubordinate, Incompetent or Incapable in the Workplace

For many years I have taught that there are only two issues that cause managers to terminate employment of staff members: insubordination and incompetence.

I have learned something new today: incapability ~ not having the necessary ability, qualification, or strength to perform a specified act or function.

Incompetent ~ lacking qualification or ability, noun; a mentally deficient person

So, even though incompetent and incapability can be synonymous, I would make a distinction.  My own brain and some dictionaries say that incompetence has to do with mental ability, whether it be IQ or emotional state, something about the person means that they cannot perform the task.  Incapability is almost the same, but the status of the inability may not be mental, it can be physical, or one of energy.  In other words, given the right level of energy and time, the task can be done intellectually, but is not, in fact, done because of an inability to create the correct circumstance to get the task done.

I think this distinction is important because, the incompetence definition implies a less than average IQ.  Incapability is not about intelligence, however, the result is the same.  The task is left undone.

When I am working with a staff member to assist with performance levels, I can (almost always) predict the outcome based on these definitions.

Insubordination – the staff member does not want to do the work.  Mistakenly, they may believe that their supervisor is powerless to affect their activities, or they have decided that the supervisor is wrong in some way:   Insubordination – “is the act of willfully disobeying one’s superior. Refusing to perform an action that is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action that is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order.”  Wikipedia

Incompetence – try as they might, this staff member cannot get the job done.  They lack the critical thinking skills to understand the process and so they make the same mistakes over and over again.  These mistakes interfere with others work and this team member may be unintentionally disruptive for the rest of the team.  Additionally, all training attempts yield no or very little results, so corrective action is not effective with this team member.

Incapacity – this team member may not even try to get the job done, they are not able to plan or organize and therefore cannot ever create the correct circumstances to get their job done.  Their intelligence is not compromised in any way and they do not openly deny a supervisor’s instruction, they simply have a never ending supply of good reasons for not getting the job done.  This sometimes appears to be insubordination and even incompetence, but because the staff member is capable and appears to follow instructions, it is unclear what keeps them from getting their job done.

In any of these situations, I know that the outcome will always be the same: the job will NOT get done.  The staff outcome should always be the same and that is to terminate employment.  The truth is, that it doesn’t matter why staff members do not do their job.  If you, as a supervisor, have diligently trained and worked with the staff member to improve performance and you have given that person lots of time to succeed, then termination is the only end point for non-performance of essential staff functions.  In that light, insubordination is almost always the easiest staffing issue, because it is so straightforward.

28Apr

Do You Ever Get Uncomfortable?

You always talk about why success cannot be achieved.  You argue for failure.  

20Apr

I Want a Promotion…

“I want a promotion”
She sat in front of me tearfully requesting this promotion that was available to all applicants on the ‘floor’.
I had reviewed all applications and the woman sitting in front of me had never advanced her education beyond her GED that she had earned over 40 years ago. I almost didn’t believe that she was sitting in front of me making this request. So I asked her, “Did you take any classes at all after high school?” “Anything?”
“No” she replied. I looked at her application and then I looked up at her. She told me about how her husband was unemployed and that her kid could not get a job paying more than minimum wage. She told me how hard she was struggling to keep her family “afloat”.  I could feel her pain. Later, when I was alone, I cried for her and her family.
There are a couple of doubts that I have when a staff member is not interested in training and has not completed any post high school continuing education:
1. I fear that their own personal life is so consuming they don’t have time for anything else.
2. I fear that they feel that they do not need to learn, they already know everything.
3. I fear that they believe through some level of superiority, either because they are smart or handsome or even ‘experienced’ that they do not have to get an education.
4. I fear that they do not have any perception about the external world, credentialing is a crucial element in building a career. How could anyone miss the importance of credentialing?
5. I fear that this person has never felt a connection to a career, but rather, has just grown old in a “job”.
6. I fear that they expect a gift, rather than the reality of a competitive environment that needs production.
I cannot “give” a job to anyone. Because I am a professional manager, I will always go with the most well qualified candidate. Sometimes, the only thing that matters is experience; however, that is not often the case. I look for knowledge, attitude, willingness to learn and engagement to the work. The knowledge necessary pertains to the subject matter, the attitude necessary is an attitude of getting the job done well and willingness means that the staff member realizes that it is necessary to be open to learning and that means putting yourself in a place of learning and even challenging your own abilities. As far as engagement is concerned, I find that those who are disenfranchised do the least amount of work with the least amount of effort, often leaving their own errors for others to correct. This kind of behavior is a morale killer.
So no, I cannot “give” you a promotion. Though you may get angry with me and feel that I am unfair because you believe that your “experience” warrants this promotion, it won’t change reality to be angry. When I understand how you feel, I will be even more disappointed with you. So please, figure YOU out and please, leave me on the sidelines of your analysis.

05Apr

I Want to Protect Me

I don’t know how to protect myself.

Lots of people are not trustable and it is sometimes very difficult to tell who they are.  The next issue is that I want to trust them.  I want them to be in my life, or they are in my life out of necessity and happenstance and I don’t know what to do with the knowledge that they are selfish and irresponsible to our relationship.  I keep trying to make things different and have the inevitable experience of disappointment.

I even have a sign in my office that says “quit expecting and then being disappointed.”  Again and again, I reach out to those that do not like me, those that enjoy doing me harm, those who are comfortable with causing discomfort.  I believe that if we need to be together because of necessity or happenstance, that we should be happy together.  The only other way to be is suspicious and guarded and I DO NOT WANT THAT.

So, how do I stay somewhere in the middle?  I don’t want to be paranoid  and avoid everyone and I don’t want to be the stupid patsy who gets tricked over and over again by letting people in?

If I know that you do not wish me well, and yet, you must be in my life, how do I treat you?  How do I treat you after you have caused damage and pain to me?  How do I treat you from day to day, when I understand fully that you would harm me if you could?

I know this: I harm myself when I invite you in.  Over and over again you reject me, I try no more.

27Feb

Hanging Onto the Past

Most people have a very difficult time staying in the moment. Scratch that, everyone I know, has a very difficult time staying in the moment and allowing the present to give information about what to do next.
What is the first thing we do when in a new situation? We attempt to anchor ourselves with past information about a similar situation. This is actually harmful to our current ability to manage the current situation appropriately. If our current situation is similar to a prior negative situation, our body will tense up and we can feel ourselves cringing, getting ourselves ready for the negativity to repeat itself. This tenseness and cringing does not serve us, because we become defensive, sometimes in perfectly benign and sometimes in perfectly positive situations. We may even close ourselves off to new incoming feedback that will give us clues to the positivity in this new situation.
What is the first thing we say in a new relationship? “You remind me of ____________” or “My last boyfriend was ___________” or “My last supervisor was _________”. I remember that at one point in my career, I became aware that I was afraid of large blonde haired men. It turned out that they intimidated me because my father is a large blonde haired man. I would snap to attention even though I was the identified supervisor.
No wonder the past plays itself out repeatedly, we are often in the past, in our own heads. From this perspective it is difficult to spring forward into the future. Indeed, historically, it was a survival mechanism to recognize the advance of someone / something harmful. I often think that this is why people take anger so seriously, in a primitive society it was important to run from angry, strong people.
So here we are today, living more precisely by our thinking and our emotion, with much less aggressively physical threats, with no way to re-adjust our brain. While it is important to reference the past when going into a new situation, it is just as important to stay anchored in the present. It is our tendency to hang onto the past that puts us in trouble in the present.

The practice of neutrality is an imperative tool for maturity and is most definitely an excellent tool for managing people.