Tag Archives: career strategy

They’re just not that into you…Organisational red flags

Organisational red flags -  do you ignore them?

Organisational red flags – do you ignore them?

He’s just not that into you ” is the headline from  He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt , the modern girls guide to men, dating and relationships.

It is about the brutal truth to save us women from complete denial when we fail to take on board something that is glaringly obvious to everyone around us.

We  convince ourselves that our rose-coloured version of reality is the correct one,  even if all the signs scream a  totally different message . We have all been  in relationships that are  dysfunctional,  one-sided or perhaps just past their sell by date.   If he doesn’t call it’s because he lost his phone,  broken both his hands or  (poor darling…)  had to go unexpectedly to some remote wilderness and signal- less location. Despite our excuses and even defence of an indifferent or bad relationship,  the reality is we are not  important enough for them to call. GB ” If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do same for big things.”

They are just not that into us. Sound familiar?

Well, like many truisms this philosophy is transferable and can be applied to other situations,  even corporate relationships.  Many employees hang onto old jobs, roles and relationships for all the wrong reasons,  when all evidence is suggesting they should getting a Plan B and getting one fast.

Frederick,  Regional Sales Director of an international  logistics company  had been the designated deputy for the C.E.O. for 9 years and  expected to be appointed on his retirement.  He was shocked to find that the position was advertised externally. He had not been appointed or even invited to apply for the job he had been effectively doing in his boss’ absence for many years.  He pushed hard to be considered as a candidate and although he went through the  interview process with an executive search firm,  an external candidate was appointed.  The VP  H.R. claimed to be too busy to discuss this with him directly and asked a junior assistant to make the turn down call.

Message:  they aren’t that into him. If they had wanted him for the job they would have spoken to him not just for an interview,  but maybe even years before and started a development process.   There are a lot of red flags here.  GBThe word “busy” is the relationship Weapon of Mass Destruction…..  Remember: Men are never too busy to get what they want.”

Manuela returned from maternity leave in the banking sector and instead of slotting back into her position leading a large team , she was shunted into a solo operator functional role with no teeth. She was excluded from key meetings and responsibilities that had previously been hers were  re-allocated to employees who had previously reported to her .    She was told she needed to re-build her reputation after being in the company for five years. She is still working hard to retrieve her position,  putting in long hours despite having a small baby. She rationalizes the decisions  in terms of organisational imperatives and gender stereotyping which she hopes she can turn around.

Message:  they aren’t  that into her.  1 in 6 women experience contractual difficulties on return from maternity leave. Companies who value their female employees will honour and respect contractual obligations.  Will Manuela effect a successful turnaround of opinion?   Should she have to go through this exercise just because she’s had a baby?  These are all organisational red flags.  GB  “When it comes to men, deal with them as they are, not how you’d like them to be.”  

Simon was hired from outside the financial services sector as a C.F.O. designate,   to step into the senior role after a three-year grooming period. When the outgoing C.F.O.  left suddenly after only 18 months,  under a mysterious cloud,  the position was given to a colleague.  It was felt that Simon lacked the necessary experience  to assume a senior role and as the errant C.F.O.’s protogé, he that he might be happier elsewhere. Despite  a tough time at the height of the recession,  he finally got another job. In the meantime the new appointee isn’t working out and Simon has been approached to return as his departure has left a gap in the organisation.

Message:  they aren’t that into him.  That was a major red flag. They could not see any potential and would not invest in coaching or other onboarding programmes to guarantee success. None of the other executives were willing to support him  because appointing Simon was a risk they didn’t want to take.   GB “Don’t be flattered that he misses you. He should miss you. You are deeply missable. However, he’s still the same person who just broke up with you”.

Organisations that value employees look after them and groom them. They treat them with integrity. They provide support for growth and development.  If they have issues they communicate them constructively so that the employee is clear and can make informed choices.

If they fail to behave correctly once,  will that be a pattern that is repeated? Are the early warning signals likely to re-occur?  Like in other relationships there is always a chance of an epiphany and the neglectful employer will reform. They are also  strong indications that forming a Plan B would be a good idea. GBThe quickest way to rectify that mistake (choosing the wrong person) is by learning from that, moving on, and choosing much more wisely in the future.”

What do you think?

Nip/Tuck: new career strategy for men

Nip/ tuck – a new career strategy for men

I recently came under fire from some male friends of a “certain age”, complaining that I needed to write more about the problems that men face in their careers. So I was delighted when news this week featured the latest figures relating to male cosmetic surgery and could oblige.

Exactly a year ago while examining the value of make-up for professional women in the workplace, one of my contacts, a senior lawyer, William,  mentioned that a growing number of his peers were resorting to cosmetic surgery to support their careers. “An increasingly number of men in my circle have had cosmetic surgery to maintain a more youthful appearance, because they see it as a professional advantage.”

Remember, you heard it here first!

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him, I simply didn’t take it too seriously. I couldn’t understand how sporting a “6 pack” could make a difference. Presumably it’s not on display in the workplace, or at least not the offices I go to, so more appropriate for the beach or bedroom than the boardroom. So I was surprised to hear in the media,  suggestions that the number of nip/tucks  for men showed a higher increase in 2011,  than in any other demographic.  Only cursory research showed similar trends in Australia and the United States.  One of the reasons cited was to gain, or maintain,  professional credibility and advancement.

Increase
Male surgery  now accounts for 10% of all cosmetic procedures in the UK, with a tummy tuck seeing a 15% rise in popularity, as men turn to the knife to eliminate or reduce their middles. The second most popular procedure for men, rising by 7% was the removal of ” moobs”  – man boobs (gynaecomastia). This surgery was followed by liposuction with an 8% rise, along with rhinoplasty (nose job), blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), otoplasty (ear correction) and face and brow lifts.

Appearance of control 
I immediately picked up the phone to William.  We went through some lawyer-speak for ” I told you so” and then got down to business.

He elaborated  ” A forgotten demographic is the 50 something executive,  by anyone’s standards  probably successful,  but feeling the pressure from younger professionals, both male and female, coming hard on his heels, through the ranks. Many will have to work longer than they anticipated. Some have re-married and have young children even at this age.  Our culture places great emphasis on physical appearance as an outward sign of what is basically  power, control, high energy, seeming competent, capable and in charge. Old-looking men with straining shirt buttons over bulging bellies don’t give off that impression. We work long hours, have business lunches or sandwiches at our desks or on trains. Combined with family commitments,  we struggle to get to the gym or take the exercise we need. For many this is a quick and relatively painless solution.”

He put me in touch with George, a gentleman no stranger to the scalpel,  with 2 cosmetic procedures already notched up, a tummy tuck and eyelid surgery, as well as Botox injections.   Clearly my tips on Touche Eclat had fallen on deaf ears.  “ I work in  a client facing environment and was starting to look a bit paunchy, saggy and tired. Companies don’t like to work with people who look as though they lack energy and permanently seem in need of a vacation. It was well worth it and I have no regrets!” Whatever happened to the revered elder statesman role?

But anyway who is going to see this perfectly re-constructed abdomen in a professional environment I asked somewhat directly?  George did smile when he expanded  “ It’s about confidence, my suit fits correctly. I just feel better.”  

Is 60 the new 40?
To repeat what I said last year, this rising trend to attempt to create washboard abs or any other age reducing surgical procedure, simply to stay ahead in the career game,  seems a sad commentary on our times and corporate cultures. The ultimate irony of course is that youth unemployment figures are at an all time high.   Could it be that our rejuvenated 50-something Boomers, with their  newly achieved 6-packs are getting in the way?

If 60 is really the new 40, then things are not going to improve any time soon for Gen Y.

  What do you think?