Miserable Workplace

Question:

I work in a medium size company and the people here are extremely scheming, something that I did not seen in my previous workplaces. There are many departments and teams in this current company, and I realize that middle-level management and some team member gang up together to put others in deep-shit including their own manager. It is a way they punish their staff and smear their new staff. Why don’t they talk to their staff when the make mistakes? Why don’t they problem solve? I find that my life in work extremely miserable. The hardship in works is affecting my life. Do you think I should leave and find a better place to work?

Signed,

Should I Quit?


Answer:

Dear Should I Quit?:

From the little you tell us, you are very unhappy in your new job. I’ve tried to make out what exactly is going on by carefully reading what you say and rewording it slightly. What appears to be going on is that find people playing dirty politics and putting down others. The fact is that almost all if not all workplaces, especially large ones, have some individuals who scheme and manipulate. There is in-group fighting and out-group put-downs; a “we” and “they”, an “us” against “them”. Some individuals adjust to and fit in to corporate watch-your-back, look-out-for-yourself corporate competition. Others find it cutthroat, unethical and uncaring.

Bureaucracy with all its rules, regulations and attempts at fairness is meant to minimize favoritism. Human Resources in large organizations are intended to create a humane and supportive force. Undoubtedly you are learning more than you ever wanted to know about the dark side of organizational life. That fact has brought you to question if leaving is as wise as looking elsewhere for a job. The answer to such a question is complex and should not be answered impulsively. The factors to consider include your skill-marketability, how well you like the assignments, pay and benefits of your present job, and family location and responsibilities, etc. Of course, these are matters that only you can apprise.

Before you give up on this job, would it not be wise to carefully reflect on what you see about you; specifically who schemes and treats others shamefully? What provokes put-downs? What hope do you see for your workplace’s commitment to teamwork? Also where do you fit and/or not fit in? Few workplaces are so employee friendly that they cannot benefit from a concerted effort to be team players. To make that happen sometimes it takes real conflict or a boss or co-worker to champions the process.

Teamwork is indeed a process; a communicative process of collective problem solving rather than blaming. The fact that you feel there is backbiting and dysfunctional co-worker behavior is reason enough for you to meet with your supervisor and/or Human Resources to learn if team training and team building it is worth trying. Do read the section in our Archives on teamwork to get a feel for how teamwork works and benefits an organization.

Working together with hands, head, and heart is an on-going process that takes and makes big WEGOS. Will you keep us posted on what you elect to do? Follow Up:Thanks for your reply. I have worked in the current company for 2 years but considered new as compared to other colleagues. In these two years, I have not completed a single project; I would say no achievement at all. Right, in my workplace, they are a lot of people playing dirty politics and putting down others. I am one of the victims. I was always being assigned to projects which commercially are not viable from a business point of view. The issue here is in order for them to have good record and avoid doing research on building the business case, the commercial colleague (Product) always pushes the work to us (technical team). What the managers do in the technical divisions is to throw it to their staffs. I am a result-oriented person. I always wanted to complete my tasks, but the situation that I am facing now is I will not be able to complete my project because the project team members (from different departments) is building obstacles to delay the project. I was assigned as a project leader. But in fact, I have to always follow the instructions of Product. My manager is supporting Product. No one understands the pains I am having now. I am losing my confidence everyday. In my technical division, most of them will not raise their concerns against Product except minority.

Actually, the life in workplace is simple, Product makes research, building business case, business case approved, hand over to the technical team for implementation. The problem now is they want us to find out all the nitty-gritty to prove the project is not feasible although technically it can be done. ** Sigh **. I am serious about my job and I always want to get my job done but the situation disallows me to do that. I feel extremely tried in handling all these people.

I am thinking to quit my job… take a break. It could be my current working environment does not suit me. What do you think? Answer to Follow Up Your follow up note spells out the sadness you feel in your job; “no achievement at all. . .not completed a single project.” Ours is an age of working on small tasks and not seeing a product or project completed. It is like putting seeds packages and never seeing them planted, grow, cultivated and harvested as grain and finally baked into bread. You are right to hunger to see your work completed and to have your name signed to it. Sooo, I’ll not say much more to what I advised earlier, but I do propose that you meet with your superiors and forcefully express this desire to be a real player in your workplace. Such a meeting will clarify if that is in the cards, or if you should look elsewhere.

William Gorden