As I drove to work last week on Monday, I found myself struggling not to burst into sobs. Considering I rarely cry, and I learned a long time ago that nothing that happens at work should affect me that much, that was the breaking point for me. How did I get there? And since I know I can’t afford a massive pay cut, what does this mean for me?
How I Got Here
I was going over some old posts, and found this one on Civility – and some of the issues I mention here are definitely contributing to my desire to leave. I have gone from infrequent praise to literally flinching and thinking “now what?” when I see my manager’s name on my call display or in my email inbox. I get tersely worded emails when I work nights saying “we’ll talk tomorrow” – leaving me wondering what on earth I’ve done now, and unable to sleep. This is not healthy. Last week alone, I slept for 3.5 hours on Monday night after one of those emails. That was after trying not to cry on the drive to work that night due to a different email. I have no trust in my managers anymore, because I believe they have no trust in me. What happened? Here’s some back story:
I was an accountant for almost 12 years. Prior to being an accountant, I worked in retail customer service management for a national grocery chain in Canada. I enjoyed the retail environment – it was fast paced, and had a lot of customer interaction, but the hours didn’t blend well with a family, so after I started having kids I looked for a day job. I didn’t love accounting, but it paid the bills, especially after I left my first husband.
When I first started working at my current company, I joined their Finance department. I had a good job that I enjoyed, in their planning (budget) department. However, it wasn’t long before the lure of the revenue side of the business pulled me in, and I decided I wanted to move over to the operations side of the business as a casino manager. I worked with my then VP of Finance and the VP of Gaming, studied for my MBA, and learned about the casino business. When a position opened up, I interviewed and was successful. At that point, I was happy. I loved my job.
What Happened Next
A year later, both of those VPs had left the company. New VPs were hired/appointed, who had no history working with me. All the new VP knew was, I had little casino background, and a lot of education – far more than he had. He had a whole new philosophy about how the casinos should be structured, and he eliminated the position I held before. Another position was found for me, but it wasn’t one I loved the same way. As well, the workload was shifted in a way that meant we (this change affected about 20 of us) were all doing two jobs now – and really didn’t have the time to do either of them well. Since then, I have applied for promotional opportunities, and seen other opportunities appointed to people. Without words, it has been made clear to me that my career is currently stalled.
Why? I’m not sure. I know from talking to other people who have left the organization, our VP (reportedly) has issues with strong, educated women. I don’t know why – the man is smart. I may not agree with some of his decisions, but he’s a smart man. However, I do feel he has a management style I chafe under – it is very hierarchical, top down, do as I say and don’t ask questions. Communication is a wonderful buzzword, but senior management (and not just him) doesn’t practice what they preach. I also find that there is too much unpredictability. I have started questioning every decision I make. Most of this is because every time I make a decision, I get questioned on it. Why did you do this? Why didn’t you do this instead? That would be fine – constructive criticism is important. But the instructions and questions change from week to week – so one week I’ll be asked why I did something, the next week I’ll be asked why I didn’t! My frustration has reached the point where I shrink from making decisions, because whatever I decide will be wrong. I hate having my confidence rattled that badly.
Now, a merger has been announced between my organization and another one, which means lots of jobs are likely to be eliminated, and even more opportunities are being appointed to newly displaced people – so I’m more stuck, if that’s possible. I can’t go up from where I am, and I can’t go back. I can’t really even move laterally. I can either stay where I am and become stagnant and frustrated, or I can leave. I have at least 20 more years of working ahead of me, and I can’t stop caring about my work, my team, or myself. So I’ve come to the conclusion I need to leave.