Work: a good week, a bad week, or is it all just ugly?!

I just want to write one more post about this and then forget about it all for the rest of the year!

Last week was a great week – we got our payrises and mine was a percentage point above what I’d hoped, I had my boss and his boss telling me how much they valued my work, we had a group discussion which ended with me being given some more interesting work and responsibility and a proposal to get someone else in to do the easy stuff. I was happy and involved and working hard and invested and started thinking that maybe this job could be more than what I’d initially thought.

Then this week they announced the promotions and it turns out the other guy next to me – the guy who’d been here 2 months at appraisal time – got promoted! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they’ve only bumped him back up to where his predecessor already was – but there’s now a gap in the hierarchy between me and all the others and there’s no way that his job changed more in two months than mine has in 2 1/2 years – so I’m wondering why they didn’t promote me too as I’m clearly already doing that job.

To be honest it’s not an issue of even having wanted to be promoted or being unhappy where I am or money or anything like that – I already decided last year that as long as I got my permanent contract I would just carry on doing what was necessary and using my spare time productively, and enjoying the pace and ease of this job. The problem is only an emotional one – I feel like i’ve been passed over and also I feel like my boss has been lying to me and just telling me things to shut me up. At appraisal I asked him what I would have to do to get promoted and he said basically there was nothing I could do because there was nowhere for me to go. I asked him if I needed to be working more overtime and he said no, doing too much overtime comes across as inefficiency. I’ve been given extra work and responsibility both before and since the appraisal and yet the guy who gets promoted is the one whose job hasn’t change and does loads of overtime – coincidence? And mostly I am so annoyed that he’s told me over and over how he values my work and knows how much I’m doing and my contribution to the team etc. etc. – and I wish he would just skip over SAYING that if he’s not going to do anything about it. I am really upset with him on a personal level – not angry so much but just hurt and I can’t really help that I feel that way, although I can let it not affect my work.

I’ve spoken to a couple of people about it and a few things have been pointed out – one, obviously, that I’m a woman, which sadly is more of a contributing factor in our company than it should be. The second thing is that I only work four days and maybe my boss sees that I’m not around all the time and am therefore not worthy – the thing about that is that although I’m happy not being full-time, it was a condition on being permanent that I would stick to four days to fit in with the company budget. So maybe they’re trying to keep me not only on four days but also to keep me at this level permanently too? The other thing, on the positive side, is that it’s possible they’ll promote me next year now that there’s a gap in the structure and that’s why I’m being given extra stuff to do.

Anyway, the last thing I want this year when I’m trying to lose weight and work on my music is to be going through the torturous process of changing jobs (as much as I’d love to see the look on my boss’s face) – I definitely don’t need that upheaval and I am enjoying the job, it would be heartbreaking to leave my band of friends there and I get lots of Japanese exposure as well as all the benefits, the flexi-time, the extra holidays. I did have a look at jobs though and update my CV, and I think if I was going to start applying for jobs I would look in the town where we live, get out of Japanese companies and their crazy HR procedures, and I’d have to go full time again so would have to look local for something in accounting. At the moment I spend over 11 hours a week commuting for four days, so if I worked somewhere in town here I’d be within a 15 minute walk and could cut that to 2 hours, so even if I was working an extra day I’d still be out of the house for less time altogether. Also if I wasn’t commuting I would save money so would only have to look for something that paid a fraction more than what I get for my current four days. That would be the plan if and when I was really ready to move.

Also I think although this isn’t really what I want to do forever, I am ready to be more involved at work whatever job I’m doing and to contribute a bit more and take things a bit more seriously – that’s something that’s been building gradually. So it would be good in my next job to move towards something that I would find more interested, possibly using more languages or something like that. I came up with a list of things to research/work on that would strengthen my skills in the areas that are important to me – getting my Japanese to absolute fluency and having confidence in business situations, getting my French and German to a workable spoken/written level, working on my excel skills and using some of the advanced stuff in actual examples, and continuing with my accounting qualification exams. Those are all things I can be looking into and working on over the next year.

It also depends what happens with music. I definitely want to focus on that for this year and see how far I can get now that I’m properly putting the time in. It’s hard enough as it is getting those 15 hours in a week and I once I get into recording and eventually gigging, I’m going to have even less time to practice, so I can’t be giving any more at work right now. And if something comes of the music, if I work my way into that industry in even a small way I’m sure the rewards from that will leave me happy enough to leave work as just a pay-for-hours situation for another couple of years, promotion or not.

Either way, I think things will improve next year. If I do get promoted at work, we basically won’t have to worry about finances any more as all my targets for the next three years are based on my current level, so we would have extra to go travelling or build a second home or buy a car or whatever. If I don’t get promoted, but am able to make some money from music (which is really the ultimate goal whether I get promoted or not!) I will have the pride of knowing I’ve done that plus the balance of having a dual income even if it’s only a tiny bit extra, so I will be happy to stay put. If both the promotion and the music fail to work out, then I can look at going back to work full time and explore my options for doing that closer to home – at least I’m not in a dire situation at work and I’m enjoying it, so I can take my time and wait for something to work out.

I do feel much better for writing that all out! Work issues are so emotionally draining and it’s been so up and down recently! I’m not unhappy with the deal I have at the moment – maybe I could have got more if I’d known what games were being played and had pushed for it, but then if I’m fighting for things at work then it gives me less energy for outside. It’s not really a problem at all except that I think it’ll take time to recover the relationship with my boss, as I don’t trust him and think he’s full of shit! But that’s not a massive issue in the big scheme of things.


One thought on “Work: a good week, a bad week, or is it all just ugly?!

  1. I totally understanding and agree — even though your job isn’t your dream career, nobody likes to feel lied to, or disrespected, or passed over. And it’s totally annoying to feel that you’ve hit the glass ceiling — women have come so far, but we are still discriminated against. Of course that will make you feel hurt and betrayed.

    In some ways, I can see the benefit of changing jobs. I myself went that route, after deciding that I didn’t want to live in or commute to Toronto anymore, I looked for a new job in the city we now live in. And you’re right — when I stopped spending 3 hours a day commuting, I not only regained all that time, but I was less exhausted. I could get home in the daylight; I could be eating dinner in my apartment by the time that I was previously finding a seat on the train for the trip home. I had more energy in the evenings for everything else I wanted to do outside of work. Working locally and not commuting anymore definitely improved the quality of my life even more than I’d anticipated, not to mention, as you say, the savings in train fare. So it might not be a bad idea to at least keep an eye open for another, more local opportunity, even if you aren’t actively job hunting…

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