I love this goat: he’s a little crazy eyed and just reeks of “stubborn. Just like some people we know. You know people like that, right? I know you do.
Sometimes stubbornness is situational but most often it’s a personality trait, don’t you think? And while it certainly manifests itself most often in relationships, it can be a big problem on the job.
Now, I’ve had some crazy-making jobs. I’ve worked for someone who was sleeping with the CEO, for a certifiably crazy boss who threw childish temper tantrums and had nutso policies, and for a boss who made sexual harassment a sport. But after a while, I took in what was going on, saw that nothing was going to change and then chose to leave all of these situations.
Beating your head against a brick wall is never pleasant.
I have a friend in a crazy-making management job, someone who’s trying hard to turn an organization around and has the skills to make it happen–but is stymied by the one person of higher rank. Someone who doesn’t get how an organization gets profitable. Or even functional. Talk about stress and frustration? Daily, including weekends.
Here’s what I’d do: I’d move on.
My friend has other employment credentials and options. But sticks. Maybe it’s pride, maybe inertia or maybe stubborn goat syndrome, that belief that a difference could be made by trying harder, different, longer.
Been there, done that. It never worked for me.
Someone else I know interviewed for a management position once. Seriously underemployed, the money and responsibility were appealing and even necessary. My friend’s last stint in management had an unhappy ending. Organizations have management rules, both written and unwritten. It never works to buck them. And that time it didn’t.
But, because my friend was overdue for a management position, a promotion would’ve been a good thing. An interview was granted.
“I don’t do well being told how to manage,” my friend told the interviewer. “I’m always going to do it my way.”
If I told you that the job went to someone else, would you be surprised? I didn’t think so.
“Maybe I was too honest,” the applicant said. (Ya think?)
Yep. Stubborn goat syndrome. You can take it all the way to the poor house. And some people do.
Hey, you can’t eat your obstinance. And it won’t keep you warm at night.
I definitely believe in being true to yourself. But I also believe in looking at the lay of the land, reading the tea leaves; assessing the situation. And then, making a sensible decision.
When you see that nothing’s going to change, it’s time to move on. It’s true that some sectors of the job market are stagnant but others are not. As the lottery ad goes, you can’t win if you don’t play. The only thing to do is get out there and look. Because job frustration and stress can kill.
If you know that promotion means hewing to a party line you won’t adhere to, why even interview? The hard truth is that in old-school organizations, no one gets to manage entirely as they please except the CEO. The “low man on the totem pole” is not in a position to dictate anything, including management style. In those kind of companies, change from the inside comes in small increments. You can take on the challenge of positioning yourself on the inside. Or you can continue to be an underemployed stubborn goat.
Things do look a lot different from here, I won’t lie. I don’t “have” to work. I choose to. I like contributing financially, even if it’s significantly less than in my career days. Maybe I even feel a responsibility to contribute, at least right now.
I know how to interview and get a job. But if I see a point of diminishing returns, I’ll leave, and that’s always been true for me.
Stubborn goat syndrome. Not a winning life trait.