So, what was it that finally made me question a corporate life? Many things, I guess, but there are a few that stand out as mind-changing….
The first was a growing unease that what I was doing day to day was not having a positive impact in our world. In previous roles, I could always clearly link the output of my work to supporting others (customers) when they most needed it. This was very important to me, and the teams I led, and a source of some pride. It wasn’t just about the technology, it was about doing the right thing by customers.
The second was when I started to feel misled, and flat out deceived, by my 2 bosses in my shiny new role at B3 (Big Balls Bank). The resources and budget that had been confirmed during the interview process just did not exist. Not only that, the process and means to address this were out of reach. However, I pride myself on being able to solve problems (have always enjoyed “fixing” situations), so determinedly carried on fire-fighting, strategising and making tough calls, with no team and no budget, but managing to deliver some really good wins anyway. My technology boss was happy because she didn’t have to worry about my customers (no “noise” is good), and my business boss (and his team) took delight in continuously pointing out & rehashing every issue that ever existed in how the larger technology team supported them….most of which I could do nothing about as it was before my time. However, that didn’t stop me from taking it onboard and feeling responsible…..being a “good girl” has been part of my make-up for a very long time. I started to dread our executive team meetings and the inevitable tech bashing that would occur (it felt increasingly personal). As I learned, being constructive and transparent only works when there’s a degree of reason being used by all parties.
The third was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As my Mum got sicker and sicker, I was sleeping less and less, always on edge, unable to relax if I hadn’t spoken to her that day (nighttime in my case). At work, I was asked to take on a second customer team, which I was very happy to do, seeing it as acknowledgement that I was doing a good job. However, after 4 weeks of throwing myself into it, I was brought up short when my new client executive was surprised to learn that I was still looking after my old client team. She had been working under the assumption that I was assigned to her full-time (what the…..??!). Turns out that my technology boss hadn’t advised her of this, even though she knew that the client wanted a dedicated technology executive…..unbelievable……a few days later, I left for Ireland as Mum went into the hospice. My technology boss called me at home a week after Mum died to advise that I was being taken off my new client account, and that she was going to circulate a message saying that I was having a hard time in my personal life, so she was lightening my work load…..unfuckingbelievable……even though I was in bed running a temp of 40, I had enough wits about me to disagree and request that she “position it” using the facts…..which were that the client wanted a dedicated technology exec. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, there was no communication, leaving an awkward vacuum and me to explain it to anyone who asked (most people assumed that I’d stuffed it up somehow). I felt very embarrassed and used, and pretty disgusted that anyone would use the death of my Mum as an excuse to cover up their mistake. It wasn’t until a few months later that she apologised, and only then after I raised it with her.
Roll forward a few months from this, the frustration of being a small cog in a giant wheel, coupled with the near impossibility of getting things done without being a paid up member of the back-slapping political boys’ club that was technology at B3, and I had had enough. I was dreading going into the office, the job was literally making me sick. This is NOT who I am. I DON’T do victim-hood. Having decided to leave, it was fortuitous that I got laid off (though I’d have preferred to be the one in charge of the timing 😬). Being a mug to the end, I’d worked most of a public holiday and until 10pm the night before I was laid off 🤓 The “good girl” lives……