I was shocked at the very idea of discontinuing a project I had successfully implemented. How dare you take this away from the clients it has served so well! This was my mindset many years ago, as a manager for a very large program serving people with very severe developmental disabilities. After all, I had just created and implemented a project that the clients enjoyed immensely, and that the many employees I supervised were ecstatic about. Why would my director order me to shut it down?
The first time something like this happened to me, I was just irritated, but did not think too much about it. As the years passed, however I noticed a trend, a pattern, a consistent roadblock to my success. I first looked inward, and evaluated everything I had done to see if maybe I made an error in my decision to implement these things to begin with. I questioned my professional skills, my educational background, my thought process and anything else you can think of.
Why were my superiors killing every good idea I had? Maybe it was my cologne. I wondered if I said something that may have offended them. I even had thoughts that maybe I just did not get it and I should look into another profession. I struggled with this problem during my first 10 years or so in the field, and was so frustrated I was ready to quit. It was not fair, it did not make any sense, and it was too often to be just a coincidence. Something that I could not put my finger on was going on, and I was not picking it up.
Then, one day I was talking with another group about a project they were doing, and I accepted the offer they made. I was excited but cautious, as I now had this stigma attached to me, unaware what it was all along, until that day…
That day when I sat down with my superior, and discussed my plans for the organization. I carefully explained what I thought should be done, all the while monitoring the body language and expressions of the boss. I finished my presentation and was ready for another pruning, another problem to come up. Nothing. I was practically asking for some negative feedback, as i had become accustomed to it at this point and at this level. My new boss smiled and said ” sounds great ! ” I could not accept that, it was too easy and it does not work this way in my experience. No power moves, no head games or anything. I tested this suspect new boss of mine and said something like ” Ok, I will take over from here then ” to see if the waves were as calm as they seemed. The answer I got back was amazing, it went something like this..” Sounds good! One more area I do not have to worry about! Just make me look good.” It was a casual kind of statement, with laughter that I had not seen before. I heard my new boss make one last comment as we closed our meeting. ” A good manager has nothing on their desk but a pen! ”
I quietly shut the door as I walked away to process this comment. I was given a green light! I was relieving an Executive of some major burdens and she did not question me at all. Weirdo, she must just do this on the first meeting, I am sure the hammer will come down at some point. The days and months passed by as I did my thing, and no static from the boss. As a matter of fact, the credit was given to me, when the praise came for success. That is what you call a secure boss”.
I had such insecure bosses in the years I started out, that I did not realize why they were blocking my efforts, criticizing my successes and picking my brain all the time. It all makes sense looking back, they were insecure and I was a threat. My intentions did not matter, my hard work was even less important, and my victories were cast in a dark shadow by the very one who had hired me to do this! Hard life lesson and professional lesson but worth writing about. I call in Insecure Boss Syndrome. If it becomes a future DSM member, I want the credit!
At any rate, if you are having the same problem, make a move. get out and get up. It is a terrible thing to waste all of your efforts to assist a certain population of needy people, only to have someone tear it down as you build it. Whatever you do, whatever profession, you have valuable skills that are worthy of being recognized. If you did not you would not be reading this. If you can relate, you may have a problem that will not remove itself. Sometimes we have to cut our losses and move out, to move up. Somebody will appreciate your skill set and dedication. Keep looking.