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Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

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Re: Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

Postby The Artful Dodger » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:08 pm

DaQ was a poster who used to post here frequently about his own personal insecurities about dealing with situations and others, making mountains out of molehills in so doing. He's probably turned into a total agoraphobic, even from Internet forums.

Fantasy GM wrote: Their one criticism - strangely - was on my extremely strong work ethic. My main evaluator wrote that it's both a strength and a weakness. It's a strength because, with the talent I have shown, all of my work comes out A-quality at the end. The weakness part is that I can be "off-putting"; if someone is slacking, I have a habit of taking too much charge and taking control of the rest of the assignment (while I like to help them out, I can't when we are on a tight deadline). The group also mentioned how I communicate more than I should during projects; most people under-communicate, so I need to find a happy medium.


I actually think work ethic is a strength and weakness, as well. It's great to put all-out effort into everything, but it has to be exerted properly and it has to be devoted to the right things. Put it another way, working smart is better than working hard.

I get the impression you're just starting out and eager to show you're capable of computing potential into dividends immediately. Most folks at entry-level feel that way in that they always have to convey enthusiasm and energy in their work, which is admirable. As you gain experience, you begin to realize you shouldn't be working at sixth gear most times... Rather, you have to know when to shift gears or when to be proactive/reactive, when to do something or not to do it, know when to listen and know when to speak, and so on.

As far as picking up the slack goes, I would rather see an employee check in with his teammate(s), ask how far they've gone with whatever they're doing, and collaborate with them to get whatever needs to be done, done, without being too bossy or too Draconian. This to me, shows emotional intelligence, a willingness to mature, and a deeper, more enlightened sense of leadership. Not only do you make the team better, but it also accentuates individual qualities as well (strengths and weaknesses).

Fantasy GM wrote:The only concern I have: I look for tells to see where I fall in with upper management. They are pretty good at hiding these tells, so no one in my position knows where they stand (promoted or fired after the trial period) until the day of.


That's because when you've been playing "the game" (for lack of a better term) for some time, you don't give away your tells. To me, a great manager has to be one that's levelheaded at all times, one who wears the same face in good and bad times, let alone how they manage and treat their employees. Given that this is a trial, perhaps the managers want to take full stock of their employees by the end of the trial (therefore not committing to a direction on the surface). There might be a project or two that has yet to make or break them

Fantasy GM wrote:To compare this into fantasy baseball...he is Matt Cain (mostly consistently good with his work, super-low maintenance, but not really a star yet), I am Tim Lincecum (No big mistakes, but can be a little turbulent sometimes, though no one is questioning the talent).


Perhaps they see some untapped potential with "Matt Cain"? In my view, some employers are better at getting the highly talented, but seemingly more volatile employees to develop a more mature commitment. Conversely, other employers are better in getting less talented but hardworking individuals with a good head on their shoulders to develop that talent to another level. Maybe, your employer falls in the latter group.
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Re: Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

Postby Fantasy GM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:15 am

Thanks for the solid insight Artful Dodger. It's all very interesting how all of these things work in the business world. I will know in a few weeks my ultimate fate. Hopefully the people voting contact Brian Sabean and keep both Lincecum AND Cain. ;-)
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Re: Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

Postby The Artful Dodger » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:50 am

Fantasy GM wrote:Thanks for the solid insight Artful Dodger. It's all very interesting how all of these things work in the business world. I will know in a few weeks my ultimate fate. Hopefully the people voting contact Brian Sabean and keep both Lincecum AND Cain. ;-)


No worries.

You're probably noticing that in the business world, that you normally get what you put in, but it takes time and it's not as straightforward as say, in college. Everything is structured in studies, whereas in the working world, things change and you have to deal with people on a different level than what you're used to.

My advice is just keep putting in good work, listen to whatever advice/criticism peers and managers give you, and don't overthink about what people are thinking (especially direct reports/other managers). Try not picking up the slack too much, unless the situation really calls upon it. Remember that your peers will be found out, sooner or later; don't make it easier for someone to pick at a character flaw and have it backfire on you (let's face it, we all have them).

All the best. ;-D
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Re: Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

Postby kab21 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:46 pm

Another thing that a hiring process like this will show to management is how well you handle stress. The best thing to do is just forget about the big evaluation and just keep doing your job well. From the sounds of this job will always be stressful because of the nature of the work. And you'll be burned out at your current pace.

finger pointing = bad. Regardless if it is someone else's fault. Managers want someone that get stuff done and your coworkers will then rightly/wrongly be out to make you look bad. You're not going to win.

I left engineering because I didn't want lead this type of life. Financially it was a terrible move but my life is the better than it ever could have been.
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Re: Work slump? Need some advice from the pros

Postby Lofunzo » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:32 am

The only concern I have: I look for tells to see where I fall in with upper management. They are pretty good at hiding these tells, so no one in my position knows where they stand (promoted or fired after the trial period) until the day of. In my case, this is true; everything is as it's been. For my friend however, they are tipping their hand that they will retain him. I am happy for my friend, but: 1.) I got a 100% on my evaluation. He got an 90% mark. However, 2.) He has been getting the more complicated/involved assignments as of late. His schedule next month has him in an area where only "promoted" people seem to work, though maybe that's not always the case. A few weeks ago, he made a huge/obvious/glaring error, but no one formally reported it (my "minor slip ups" - as is the case with most people - gets noted). To compare this into fantasy baseball...he is Matt Cain (mostly consistently good with his work, super-low maintenance, but not really a star yet), I am Tim Lincecum (No big mistakes, but can be a little turbulent sometimes, though no one is questioning the talent). ;-D


Look back on all of the things that you worried about and all of the scenarios that ran through your head and see how many of them actually happened as you planned. Probably not that many. We drive ourselves crazy with things out of our control. Just worry about what you can control (your performance) and let everything else work itself out. There are a lot of reasons why they might be putting you on certain jobs and your friend on others. Just let it go and do YOUR job to the best of your ability.
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