Thursday, October 15, 2009

Did I Just Learn Something in a Leadership Class?

Change Management...

Who Moved My Cheese...

Circle of Influence...

If you work for a large corporation and you don't work in HR, odds are that I just made you cringe.

I'm writing this post after two days of corporate leadership training (indoctrination) meant to kick off a ten month development project. And to tell you how I almost cried.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to participate in this project. However, like everything I do these days, I'm happy with a touch of sadness.

When I was asked to participate in this project I was in the middle of IVF #4. Of course I calculated how a pregnancy would impact a ten month project. Of course I calculated that it would not be good to be on maternity leave just as the project was wrapping up. Of course I know better than to reject opportunities because I *might* get pregnant. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

So you might think the fact that I started this project still barren with no chance of maternity leave in the future almost made me cry.


The training started the way these things usually start; icebreakers. I listened as people talked about their kids; names, ages, how they struggle to prioritize their little ones ahead of their work. I lost count of how many times I answered, "no," when asked during breaks if I had children. So you might think that all this "kid" talk made me glassy eyed.


What brought me to tears was this...

This picture (recreated by me) on a PowerPoint slide almost brought me to tears. The lesson?

"You never know when there's an exit ramp in your future."

I almost lost it.

I pulled it together only to be hit with another PowerPoint slide. This time a quote.

"Failure is not an option, but quitting is."

I successfully fought back the tears.

But I started to wonder, am I learning about strategic thinking or is the universe trying to tell me something?


Paula Keller said...

Ugh! I hate those kinds of meetings.

And I hear you about not planning anything around a "maybe" pregnancy. Done that too.

Clearly you are not a failure if you quit in this case. Sometimes winning is about just rearranging your priorities. Don't quote me on that, k?


irrationalexuberance said...

Shit. Shit for the stupid training (and I'm a management consultant, and even I hate those things) and shit for the plans that you make and have to amend and remake. And super shit for having your own dopey management platitudes bite you in the ass. It sounds like you handled it brilliantly, but I'm sorry that you had such a hard time.

areyoukiddingme said...

First, there is nothing worse than a motivational phrase. Whoever thinks these things up must live in a different world than I do! Management training should be much more honest and the topics should include: Breaking your employee's will, Sucking the joy out of every career, and Asskissing 404. (Can you tell that I've had a series of horrible managers for the last 18 years or so?) I'm sure you're a lovely manager, and don't need classes to make you more effective. (How was that? I think I passed Asskissing 304, and I'm ready for the graduate level.)

I don't think the universe is trying to tell you anything, because the messages I get from your examples are conflicting. One says: Get off this road and take a different one. The other says: Don't even think of quitting. Or maybe the universe is trying to confuse you. That may be the case.

JB said...

No, it's mathematically impossible to learn anything from a leadership class. Unless the lesson is "your boss is an asshat; and rather than cease being an asshat, has sent me here to try and make you appreciate asshattery more."

No one and nothing can indicate when it's time to give up or move forward, except your own heart. I move between giving up and launching into another possibly pointless cycle on an hourly basis. I just let the ebb and flow of resolve keep going and receding; I figure I'll know when the time is right how to decide what to do.

But don't trust the universe. She's a fickle bitch.

hope4joy said...

You had me at Who moved my cheese?I do work for a big corporation and the HR comment was spot on. I have been there, turning down projects because I could be pregnant. I am also not doing that anymore. I hate those kind of meetings and I hate those questions you are forced to answer during the breaks. It can be really hard. As far as quitting goes, it is a personal conflict for all of us. I know you and your husband will decide what is right for you.

Liz said...

I did a management course last year. I particularly enjoyed the motivational speech telling us that we could achieve ANYTHING. We just had to put our minds to it. Yeah, right. I knew it was all my fault, I'm not tryign hard enough to get pregnant.

Milla said...

I'm sure that JB is right about the asshattery (could be my new favourite word). If the universe was saying anything it might be that you have some choices and that there are some things that you can't control ('exit ramps'? I'm English and not in management, it's all probably way beyond me), things that you know only too well. This means that you are already at least as smart as the universe ;)

I'm beginning another academic year at work with the same old sadness and trying not to let the resignation and cynicism take over. Well done on sucking up the sadness and getting on with things.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin