Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a hill to die on

I have worked in the same location for a number of years. I am currently beginning the 6th year here. In the time I have spent in this location I have had four different supervisors, four different titles and worked out of three different offices all within 10 feet of one another. I have also worked for three different schools and gone through two "take-overs".

I can honestly say I have learned something from every one of my supervisors, but I won't say whether it has been bad or good!

I just want to say this...

I had one supervisor who would say to me whenever I brought something up "Is that the hill you want to die on?" So the message I got was that there were some things worth "dying" for and other things not worth dying for and it was up to me to decide my fate. In the course of working under this person and in retrospect, I totally quit "fighting" for anything. I just took the word that everything would be a battle and that nothing was worth it and essentially "gave up" before I even started. I would have to say that this is COMPLETELY not my personality. I am a fighter. I am a fighter sometimes beyond what others would consider is logical. I am not a quitter. I usually stick with something until I get results. Sometimes I failed, and sometimes I didn't, but in every instance I walked away believing that I had done all I could to make a difference and I had no regrets.

Working under this supervisor was stifling and even my spouse would say to me that I was not being "myself" at work and that I had completely changed since coming to this job. It was something that was reinforced by supervisors later and I felt as though I really folded in on myself and was unable to get anything done or have a say in what was happening to and around the department which I was supposedly responsible for.

This summer we went through yet another change. The second takeover, my fourth supervisor, and things seemed as though they were headed downhill fast. I wondered how it was possible for things to get worse than they were and although I LOVE my job, I was beginning to be resentful and very unhappy. Things were being presented to me and I was just accepting what I was being told. saying I didn't like it, but not doing anything about it and in every instance thinking "Is this the hill I want to die on?"

Then came the clincher. Something was "told" to me that directly affected the operations of the office and it was something that would impact me in a way that would almost make the work unbearable. I decided - after first accepting the change- that it was a hill I WAS willing to die on and I went to fight for something I believed in.

So the end result was this... The thing I stick my foot down on was something that was resolved in a way that was pleasing to me and ..... THERE WAS NO BATTLE! Let me say it again.... THERE WAS NO BATTLE!

I stood up for something I believed in. I gathered information to support my position. I presented the information and in 24 hours was told that things as I had presented were acceptable. What is striking to me as I sit here right now is that if I had NOT gone back to present this information, the loss to me would have been significant. There would have been no battle, but there would have been loss and casualties in my department. So I have learned, or RE-learned, that there are some things worth sticking up for, and there need not be any loss over asking or presenting options. Though I am sad it has taken me this long to relearn this principle, I am very happy to be where I am today, with the learning that came out of this interaction. Rest assured it will make a big difference for me in the future, and hopefully for my state of mind and stress level also!