One reason why people start hating their jobs is because they’ve been passed over for some less-than-deserving mortal. Others start resenting their jobs because they didn’t get the raise they were expecting, despite the new hire making 20% more! Bitterness pervades, and things go downhill quickly if the situation is not addressed.
So what happens when your manager clearly states in a meeting that you will be put up for promotion next year and next year comes and your name is not on the congratulatory firm-wide e-mail list? Of course you go a little bezerk and storm out of the office not knowing when you’ll return, if at all.
You can fire off an angry e-mail or make a nasty phone call, but that’s not a good idea. You might even want to take a visit to the pellet gun section at Wal-Mart, but that’s not a good idea. Instead, breathe deeply and contemplate. Despite your manager’s
lies poor guidance, you are probably at fault. There is a disconnect between what your manager sees in you, and what you see of yourself. It’s called being delusional and something must change.
The ultimate responsibility is on you to have a congruent vision with your manager.
THINGS TO DO IF YOU GET PASSED OVER AND NOT PAID
Work is essentially an “at will” contract where you can come and go as you please, and the employer can fire or keep you at its discretion. Company loyalty is so 20th century thanks to the eradication of pensions and the globalization of the work force which is creating tremendous competitive pressures for developed countries.
Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in such a state:
* Update your resume and make a list of your most important connections. Always be prepared to move companies. Your battle gear is your resume, your connections, your wardrobe and your good looks. Everything should be up to date, including your contacts so that you don’t look like a jerk pinging them out of the blue when you need something.
* Schedule a meeting with your manager to find out why. You need to understand crystal clear the reasons why you didn’t get paid or promoted so you can rectify them. If you do, and you still don’t get promoted a year later, then you need to raise the issue to your boss’s superior or quit. Documentation is important, which is why you must document everything your manager has said and all the good things you’ve done in your reviews, so that when do-do hits the fan, you’ve got proof.
* Do not go whine to the HR department. Human Resources is there for the company, not for you. Don’t be naive to think that HR is there to serve you. HR is there to protect the company’s rump in this litigious world. Do not confide too much to HR. Even in cases where you’ve clearly been harassed or abused, you should probably seek console if you are really serious. HR has a duty to report back everything you say to your manager. They will mark down all your complaints in a way that protects the firm from a lawsuit, and not you.
* Put everything in writing. If it’s not clear by now, you must put every promise, accomplishment, goal in writing. When the inevitable disappointment comes, you can bring up that piece of writing and ask them to rectify the situation. It is NOT good enough to have a handshake agreement with your manager or new employer about a promotion or compensation level.
* Moonlight as a release. If you aren’t getting recognized at work, do something else that gives you satisfaction. If you find yourself putting in more hours than average and really caring about the company while the company is not showing you equal love, find something else to care about for goodness sake! Mentally treat your company as just a paycheck to allow you to do what you truly love. That love can be exploring the world, painting, dancing, writing, teaching, volunteering and any one of numerous things that are infinitely more interesting than your job.
* Wait until the right time to make a move. The most difficult time to find a job is in the 4th quarter. The reason is because budgets are already spent, and management is usually looking to release the underperformers. As a result, headcount availability is very limited. It is best to wait out your misery until February or later of next year where budgets are fresh and optimism is high. You should also consider moving only when you’ve got that written offer (there we go again on having everything in writing). The last thing you want to do is leave your company in a tough economic environment with no back-up plan and not enough money to survive!
* Discover your responsibility. We all have a responsibility to find and do what we enjoy doing. We don’t live in Kabul, Afghanistan or Pyongyang, North Korea where our freedom is restricted. There is absolutely no reason to settle for a job we hate. It costs next to nothing to start a company (unless you live in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York where they will tax you to death). There are plenty of opportunities out there, you just have to keep on looking. You wouldn’t settle for a nasty spouse, why would you settle for a nasty boss or job?
THERE’S NOBODY TO BLAME BUT OURSELVES
Being passed over and not paid is extremely demotivating. I know this feeling well, having been disappointment twice this decade. Each time was like drinking a jolt of sorrow as I asked myself “Why not me?“. Eventually, I did get promoted, just not in the time frame I wanted. Tough crap, I always thought to myself as I booked an extra vacation week to deal.
It’s always good to put things into perspective. Things such as a 8.6% unemployment rate and starving children around the world are important to understand. Then there are the hoards of people who are just killing it, who are no different from you that makes you again ask, “Why them, and not me?”
We can sulk, whine, protest and cry all we want. Or we can do something about our situation. Nobody is going to save us from our sad state except for ourselves. Use the disappointment from work as motivation to do better and greater things!
Readers, have you ever been passed over for a promotion and not got that raise you were expecting? What did you do to fix the situation?
If you are absolutely tired of being mistreated and under-appreciated, I wrote a book that will help you break free as I have done after 13 years.
Photo: Down and Out, Sam.