Monday, August 24, 2009

One week later...

It's 3:37 am and I can't sleep. Might as well write down what's on my mind, right? Maybe the thoughts will stop spinning around in my head like a mental tilt-a-whirl.

A week ago I (like so many others) was laid off from my job. My "position was eliminated." As my position was to increase efficiency and promote the quality system at 3 locations, I'd like to pat myself on the back and say I'd done SO well that I worked myself out of a job. But we all know that's not true.

Political Ponderings
They say I didn't "do anything wrong." It was just easier to give my tasks to others. But I can't help but wonder what political mistakes (if any) were made along the way? Though I have a hard time believing that the only way I could have changed this outcome would have been to be a "yes man." I don't mean a yes wo/man. A yes MAN.

At this juncture, I'm still going through the "grief process" as we all do when we have a major change to any mental construct... like our identity or role, or our means to support our families. So bear with me while I whine a bit.

At any rate, I've been frustrated (increasingly so) as I look back. Perhaps I should have sold myself more? I own my own marketing mechanisms, and need to ensure people perceive me as valuable. I've never been an "in your face" sort of self-promoter. Not bashing those that are, but I've always been a believer that if you are good at what you do, people will notice. That REAL intelligence doesn't need an introduction or proclaimation. But this isn't so true. It's harder for a woman. It just is. At least in the male-dominated industries.

The balance is tenuous... so hard to find, and when you find it, it moves. I've always been one to speak my mind. I am skilled at presenting a competing thought/idea in a manner that those "above me" will be prone to accepting it. When that doesn't work, I can generally get people to think that my idea was their idea. Pride can be a big inhibitor when it comes to politics.

I can also speak out more directly. The manner in how I present my thoughts depends entirely on the audience, and even their moods that day, their relationships with others that they may be siding with or against... I'm really good at this.

Perhaps too good. I thought people noticed. They used to, anyway.

I've been told I could pass for a man. This because I'm intelligent, and I am not a mouse. It was a compliment, you see.

Aaaaand back to the beginning
How is a woman supposed to thrive in an environment where this way of thinking is accepted? What could I have done differently? Been "louder" about my thoughts and ideas? So I'd be more mannish? Be more demure, and keep my value hidden?

So it's a circle. There's not really a clear answer. And I'm not going to stand on a box and shout "I am a woman, hear me roar." But I do really really want to be valued. Because I bring it.

The other piece of this puzzle that is frustrating me is that in this day and age, dissent isn't just frowned upon... it's punishable by death. (You know, the AXE, the CAN, the pink slip). it is to society's detriment. Mark my words. It's vital for people to offer up their opposing or differing viewpoints. Likewise, it's important for people to listen, REALLY listen to those opposing or differing viewpoints. The most robust solutions are only arrived upon when all contingencies and what-ifs and devil's advocates have been thought out. This doesn't mean there shouldn't be passion, or emotion... just that we need to also listen. People don't have passion and emotion around any subject because they are morons.

Take the whole healthcare thing, for example. Most Americans agree that there's a problem with our current healthcare structure. However, if you were to ask 20 people what the problem is, you'd get 15 different answers. You'd get 50 different solutions. Creating a goal to "solve" the problem is fantastic. But you aren't going to accomplish it in a month or less. And calling the opposing ideas "nazi's" and "unAmerican" is certainly not going to help us arrive at the most robust solution.

The same is true in corporate America. When management becomes an elite group of yes-MEN, and expects their suboordinates to behave in a similar manner... it doesn't speed up the development cycle, it doesn't improve product quality, it certainly doesn't do anything to help the customer, let alone delight them (closing the door to free marketing).

Now that I've gotten out my thoughts and it's 4:08am... we'll see if I can catch a few winks.

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