How Should I Handle Preferential Treatment?

Question:

I have been at my company 11 yrs and recently others that are my equals and lower in job grade are approved for training, supplies, additional benefits (work from home etc) that I have been denied for a year. Then it is on my review as a negative for not learning additional applications etc., that I had requested training on. A second monitor was denied when every other person in the department has them and I meet the job requirement for it. Any suggestions?

Signed,

Denied


Answer:

Dear Denied:



I can appreciate how frustrating it can be to be with your company for 11 years and feel shut out from actions that signal you are valued. You are to be commended for requesting training, supplies and benefits. I don’t know what you mean by “second monitor was denied”, but evidently that is another indicator to you that you are treated unfairly. Have you met with your boss to discuss these matters? Have you asked why you seem to be singled out as not deserving what others have gotten? Have you spoken with a coworker you respect and asked him/her to honestly tell you why your requests have been denied? Getting answers to these questions are a beginning to answering your request for suggestions. They are like looking in the mirror and asking how do I come across? You would do that if you were applying for work elsewhere. You would list your skills, examples of projects completed, positive evaluations, and evidence of showing up versus absences. You would reflect on your physical health and grooming. You would list those individuals who can recommend you. From here, of course, to assess these things is impossible. But let’s suppose you are a job detective and it is up to you to investigate why John or Jane Doe has worked at this place for 11 years and is where she/he is as compared to others. What would you find? Doing that is more important than for me to say do this or do that.

Now suppose your job detective comes up with a report that John/Jane Doe has some shortcomings, how should she/he address them? They can’t be wished or talked away. Rather Jane/John must correct those that can be and do something beyond the call of duty to make up for shortcomings. In your case, that might mean finding ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted effort and proposing ways to improve quality. It might mean becoming a cheerleader for others and doing little things to make your coworkers and boss’ jobs easier. Get the point? If your job detective says Jane/John is just doing her/his job and that is all, that is a sign that he/she must do more to earn the desired extras such as training, supplies, working at home, etc. If the job detective reports Jane/John is performing above and beyond expectations, then the detective’s recommendation is that he/she must hone her/his communication with the superior. That means scheduling time out to voice frustration and to solicit the boss’ career advice. Have you engaged the boss in your career? Have you told him/her how you feel and what you want and asked for his/her help? Such a meeting is not groveling. It is not begging. It is candidly and purposefully making your case.

One session quick fix? No. An eye-to-eye time-out is just a beginning. A sales person does not make a big sale in one stop. Rather a big sales come from thinking like the other person. In your case it might mean thinking about what you are doing to make your boss’s job easier and/or make the boss look good. So any session should end with scheduling a follow-up meeting to review one’s progress.

Finally, from what you say, am I right in assuming that you work pretty much alone and that your work group does not function as a team? In short, am I right in thinking that your boss does not function as a coach and your coworkers do not huddle in skull sessions to review what went well and to plan for the next game? If so, you might challenge your boss to be more of a coach and to see the value of team-thinking and team-work. If you can get that kind of coach-team work, I predict that you will be treated as more fairly. Do any of theses thoughts make sense? If not, might they at least spur you to approach your situation as a job detective or as a member of a group that sees the potential of what her/his workgroup might be if it were coached in team work? I hope you will think about what is the deep meaning in my signature sentence: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Do you think in terms of what you are doing that makes you and those you work with to have big WEGOS? Will you keep us posted on what you do and how it works out?

William Gorden