The first step when faced with a closed door at work is to confront your reality. What is it that you are struggling with in your current work situation? As a high performer, we often have very high expectations of ourselves and take it very personal when getting a poor job performance review or get let go from a company. We are human and we always are our worst critics, right? Never mind when we over analyze what got us to this point. Did you ever think that you were at this crossroads for a reason? Maybe you have another purpose in life and by the way, what might your life’s purpose be? Please read this excerpt from my manuscript and think about your current work situation. Do you have any thoughts to add for consideration in my book that would add to helping others with this step in their transformation or change in mindset?
Mind shift to change what is
There are really three events that I need to focus on in order to shift my mindset to change what is. The first is receiving a partially achieving on my 2016 performance review. The second event involved upper management and technical experts behaviors during plant visits. The third and most personal to me, was the high level of stress I was experiencing as part of the job, that was affecting my well-being and job satisfaction.
These three key drivers that forced me to have a discussion with the Human Resource Manager about my happiness were my ultimate career dissatisfaction experience. The lack of recognition from management on achievements versus perceived performance behaviors of corporate interaction at the plant level, and the level of stress associated with the plant all affected my physical and mental health. I am now looking at these three experiences as closed doors in my life’s path. I was now forced to evaluate my options available. Do I leave and cut my losses, knowing that there was now writing on the wall, or do I ride it out while looking for another job? I had to decide quickly, because I was not able to keep focus on stress management on top of everything else. I decided to ask the company Human Resource Manager for options out of the current situation, so that I could pursue other options. Within a couple of weeks, I was handed a packet from the Human Resources Manager, the company had agreed the decision was mutual. I was free to leave and find my next adventure, if I agreed to their terms. I took the weekend to think about it, then signed the agreement and began to shift my focus on the next chapter in life.
I learned a technique from Sonia Ricotti, in her book “The Law of Attraction, Plain and Simple: Create the Extraordinary Life”, to help gain clarity. She states, the first step in attracting what you want is deciding what you want. This activity she taught required me to make a list. Now you complete the same exercise, it is really a critical step, so stop and do it now. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left, make a list of all the things you don’t want in the next chapter. What would that look like? After completing that list, work on the other side of the page and match what you do want with very specific details. This exercise helped me to shift from the negative energy and mindset to a positive one. Remember to make the list unrealistic and allow yourself to dream big. This process allows you have positive energy, feelings, and clarity about what you want.
I can choose to change my job at this point to find the job satisfaction with all that I desire. Here is what my job satisfaction looked like after completing the exercise above. My new work environment is conducive to a healthy and non-stress filled life style, working with a team of managers who trust each other and work well together, are change ready, who seek my professional skill set, and management style. This job is rewarding, I feel appreciated working with a company that employees trust corporate initiatives and work together as a team. When I find the work environment that supports my needs and skills, I will be successful in my career. My aha moment here was, “I don’t need to fix me, I need to find a job that matches what I have to offer, provides a good work environment, and promotes well-being and healthy choices.”
Now instead of focusing on how to fix me as a leader for the plant that I’m working at, I can choose to focus on finding an organization that see’s the value in what I have brought to the table and how I can help them to move forward in their company aspirations. The ultimate “pay-back” to the company I am leaving, because of my job dissatisfaction and grief, is that I realized they will see all the good I have contributed, the dedication that I have given throughout my last four years there. The evidence is all the systems in place for the people of this plant’s future. These systems will improve their viability. The leadership team in Chicago and my managers that gave me such a shitty experience need to see the selfless acts that I have contributed to help the company and the plant. I came to this location willingly, to help the people improve quality. I hope that people I worked with there realize what I gave them in the systems management and my personal commitment. This was a gift of my blood, sweat and tears. After reflection, I feel that my time and commitment to this Kentucky plant was worth it all, because I know that the difference I made will have a long term positive benefit for them and their future.
The unappreciative leaders that didn’t see this value I brought to the table should realize that I was more than partially achieving, with all that was thrown at me and my team. The new Plant Manager might be the only grateful leader coming from the outside, to see all the positive contributions our Kentucky team has contributed in the year 2016. This new manager is so new, that he isn’t tainted by the Chicago leadership influence. He sees what each of this leadership team has accomplished in 2016, because he asked us to list all the accomplishments and there were greater than sixteen to be proud of. For me personally, I have can account for contribution in the following successes: Implementation of all the quality tools such as: Food Defense Program, control plans, food safety Hazard Analysis tool, quality manual uniting the integrated management system (IMS), ISO certifications, Continual Improvement Activities (CAR and PARs, MOCRs, and SCARs), collaborated with two other plants on CIA process and standardized audits, traveled to all U.S. plants to help with the certification process, created internal audit schedules and audit checklists and forms, launched Progressive Quality (PQ) pillar, Kaizen for mold risk and tear strip defects, and created list of raw material specifications for the food safety audit. The Kentucky plant would not have realized these successes and the implementation of its quality, environmental, and employee health and safety tools, if I hadn’t joined the ranks of leadership when I did. While I do this all alone, I had a large part in the leadership of the above tasks and I just hope that management there realizes it too!
I know that I have left my mark on this plant, with the positive results they are starting to see despite the five million dollar construction investment. There have been over forty and fifty percent reduction in consumer complaints year over year that I have been helping them through the continual improvement activities process I established there. They will have three certifications they didn’t have before I arrived, which will bring much more business to the plant. The successful re-start after construction with revised testing programs I helped to implement and establish will help the plant continually improve its food safety monitoring capabilities. Finally, the growing pains through the quality data management module will help the plant better manage food safety and quality by for its certification requirements and food safety.
My learning from this painful experience has been to focus not on that which I didn’t do, but that which I helped to do. This mind shift of feeling lack in performance can be built upon to realize my strengths in my contributions to the organization, even though they did not see it as such. I don’t have to be recognized by ungrateful leadership for my contributions, but at minimum this should be taken into account when giving me an unfair assessment! This experience made me feel unappreciated for all of my personal sacrifice over the last four years with this company. It’s really sad that I had to experience this from a company whose values are “Dare, Care, and Commit”, while they claim to put people first. I feel the ultimate failure of leadership there was to fail to see the contributions from all the great achievers who gave so much of themselves, only to walk away feeling unappreciated! Now instead of spending what I feel is the rest of my career with a company that truly cares about its people, I am forced to go find a company or position that will not only appreciate what I have to offer, but provide an environment that is driven to help its leaders feel appreciated for their personal sacrifices and contributions that help the company succeed, and a company that truly values its people.
When I started working for this organization I was starry-eyed with all the benefits and it’s “value system”, the fact they invested in their people with international travel and training opportunities. Now that I’ve been with the company for four years, the honeymoon has wore off and all that I feel now is the lack of appreciation and recognition it fails to give its successful leaders. Now this company couldn’t pay me enough to stay and continue to take this abusive relationship. The local Chicago team relationship is them against us (the plant) approach and the local plant leaders fail to receive the credit for the great accomplishments they’ve made. The failure to track the mold risk to the senior management team’s expectations was no fault in the people, but the fault in management at all levels for not providing the systems to do it to the expected level.
I am grateful for seeing what this organization has allowed me to see; that is you can always be a part of something greater than yourself, you just need to find an organization worthy enough of your time, dedication, and professional commitment to being the best at what you do and what you have to offer. I am a great achiever, I am committed to treating others as I would want to be treated, and I will manage my work life experience in a way that provides me the work and personal life satisfaction, because I am responsible in directing my next chapter in attracting what I desire.
Now that you have read this excerpt go ahead and provide some comments or feedback for consideration in the editing process. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this blog.