also courtesy of "liz ryan"(who is terrific, by the way - I wrote the following article for her in June, 2005) (<--- click and scroll down, please)
Posted by: "TarHeelFan" tarheelblue81@______ tarheelblue4ever
Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:53 pm (PDT)
Well, I think my bus threw me under a boss, then got behind the wheel and drove over me. I need some advice! I will try to be as concise as possible. Here's the situation: I'm the marketing manager for an association. Several months ago, a team member suggested we bring in a branding expert to help us get at the "essence" of what our association stood for, as our messaging didn't seem to be hitting the spot where getting new members was concerned.
I actually agreed, as I had tried coming up with a plan of my own that didn't do the trick, and we had tried running brainstorming exercises with committees and the board, to no avail. Our boss said he didn't think we'd learn anything new if we went this route, but that he'd support us. I was charged with finding a couple of people who could do this and what it would cost.
Fast-forward a few months to our board meeting where the budget was to be approved. I wasn't there, so what follows is hearsay. My boss pulls me aside and says there was "pushback" to my marketing plan, particularly the consultant part. I said OK, fine, and wasn't really concerned, as I figured we'd work everything out. Then a bit later he tells me there is great concern over the plan, especially the consulting part, because isn't that what I'm there for? Again, I'm not too concerned, but little alarm bells are starting to go offi n my head.
The next day, I was in the board room all day, and two things happened: My cell phone went off, with someone calling with budget figures we needed; I was expecting the call. After lunch, the second thing happened -- I nodded off!!My boss called me out of the room a couple of hours after that and gave me a dressing down and told me to leave if I couldn't stay awake and that our new board president (who I've always gotten along with but who is very"passionate" ) was very upset with me. I tried to smile, and he actually said"quit laughing!" Well, I wasn't laughing, I was trying to lighten the tension.Why did I nod off? I have no idea, but suspect it's because I have sleep apnea and was coming off a two-day migraine at the time. But who knows? I certainly didn't do it on purpose! And I certainly apologized.When the meeting was over I ran into my boss who asked me if I was "al lright." I said I was fine and that I planned to call the president to apologize. I did call her, but she never gave me the courtesy of a call back.On Tuesday, I was supposed to meet with my boss over the "issues" from the board meeting, but he called me in his office and said he was postponing the meeting because he felt like he needed to get HR involved, but that "you're not getting fired today, and you're not getting fired next week." Gee thanks, I thought. Mind you, within the past two weeks I had a very good annual review and received a nice raise! He reiterated that several board members were upset with me, and that they had lost confidence in me because of the marketing plan and the reason a presentation I was involved with on Friday was delayed was because several of the officers were in the owner's office talking about me! And at this point, I hadn't even fallen asleep in the meeting! I should also note that the owners of the company are personal friends of mine, but I don't know how that might play into this whole scenario.I reminded my boss that the branding expert wasn't even my idea and that hehad said he would support it, and he claimed that he did support it. I don'tknow, I wasn't there, but the person whose idea it was was in the room and something tells me she saw which way the wind was blowing and kept her mouth shut. Supposedly I also caused a ruckus when my cell phone went off. Let'ssee, it was buried deep in my purse, and I grabbed it within two rings and left the room to answer it.If all this weren't so ridiculous I'd be laughing, but I need the incomefrom this job, and up until one week ago, I enjoyed virtually all aspects of it.
SO, if you're still with me, what do I do in this upcoming meeting? Do you think HR is there as a witness or to help put me on an "action plan" of somesort? What do I do? Do I try and get a package and go, like in Liz's recent article? There's a possibility I could transfer to a different account in afew months, if I can hold out that long against the forces apparently arrayed against me. To add to all this, up until now, I have always had agood relationship with my boss, but I have noticed, as have others, that he will bend whichever way a board tells him to.What to do, what to do? Signed,Feeling Hopeless in the Heartland (NOTE FROM LIZ: Ay carumba! So sorry to hear about it, and this is our third or fourth member story on the same theme: you work at your job, things are going great, and then one day....the wind shifts. It's absolutely unconscionable from a leadership perspective, but the good news in your case is that you've got the documentation and the raise to show that somebody's ducks are not in a row. I think the Third Path approach a/k/a "Pay Me to Go Away" is well-suited to your situation. And, in your shoes I wouldn't hesitate to play the 'owners are personal friends of mine' card either. They deserve to know the poor leadership decisions being made in their organization. I'd talk to them and say "I would never be involving you if the situation weren't so dire - for me in the short term, and for the organization' s prospects over the long term." If you could transfer to a different account that would be wonderful. I wouldn't wait - I'd pull out the stops now. Best of luck and in case you were wondering, It's Not You. Cheers - Liz --p.s. a cell phone goes off in your purse, it's a Federal issue? Give me a break. Somebody's undies are on too tight[ly]. :-)
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