Are You On an Emotional Roller Coaster?

“He’s an idiot!  He is moving the company in the wrong direction.  How can he do something that is so obviously wrong and get away with it.  It is a crazy decision and now we will all suffer for it.  I won’t be able to sell as much because of this” 

These words were words I heard from a colleague many years ago talking about what the new President of the organization we both worked for was planning.  My friend, Dick, had worked himself up into a frenzy and when I finally said, “Dick if this is how you feel then maybe it is time for you to leave.”  he just looked at me and shook his head.  Several months later he did leave.

A year ago, I coached a client who was a medical doctor.  He was in a group practice and often saw patients who were patients of another doctor in the practice when their doctor was unavailable. 

One of those patients was very angry with my client, Ed, because he refused to write her a prescription for a narcotic pain medication.  Ed suggested she try something less strong first.  She insisted he write a script for what she wanted and when he didn’t, she complained to the practice manager. 

The philosophy of this practice was to always satisfy the patient.  It was Ed’s practice to start patients on an over the counter medication first before going to prescription drugs, so Ed had refused to write a prescription.  He’d been warned by the practice manager before not to argue with patients.  He however thought his way was the right way and disagreed with the practice manager and the practice philosophy. This time though the practice manager had had enough and fired Ed.

When you first get hired into a position, you ought to like and agree with the direction the company is going.  Both Dick and Ed were happy in their positions initially.  It seemed to them however that the management and vision of their companies changed overnight, and neither were happy with the changes. Working for an organization can often be an emotional roller coaster ride.

The signals of change are often sporadic at first so you may be unaware it is happening.  I got caught by surprise when I suddenly realized the company I worked for had changed directions. 

Dick and I started at AT&T together.  We were in the same training class.  We both excelled in the sales training and in our careers.  We were proud to be working for such a good company.  Over the years though there were many changes in leadership and the direction changed.  Dick was aware of his dissatisfaction and left of his own accord. I did not.

Many of us stay with a company hoping that the leaders will change course and see the error of their ways and go back to the old ways or find a new more acceptable (to us) path.  This rarely happens and even though we think we are hiding our feelings about the job, if we hate it, those feelings often show.  If you are vocal about your dissatisfaction, you will eventually be forced out.

Put yourself in the managers place, no one wants a Debby Downer always predicting doom and gloom and arguing against the policies. When you see yourself as always being the negative person in a situation, it is time to leave. 

Dick figured that out early on and was able to leave on his own terms and start his own business.  My client needed to be forced out.  He landed on his feet however with a new position that shared his philosophy about pain medication.  I too was forced out with a lay off. 

Even when a lay off was announced I felt ambivalent about what would happen to me.  I said to many of my colleagues that I wasn’t sure which was worse getting laid off or staying with the company.  I now know the answer.  I was lucky to be laid off! 

You may find yourself in a situation where it gets to be impossible to be happy at work. It is hard to do your best work when you are in that frame of mind. You will need to make the decision to leave or the decision will be made for you.  You come from a position of strength however if you decide for yourself and get out of an untenable situation.

Sometimes it is hard for us to admit the situation is a bad one.  You know you are not happy, but you are not sure what to do.  Neither staying nor going seems like the right choice.  If this is your situation, a coach can help you look at the possibilities and help you create an action plan.  I’d love to be your coach.  Feel free to email me at asparker@asparker.com to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.  There is no charge for the call.  It will give us both the opportunity to decide if we can work together.

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