Author Topic: How do I stop this cycle?  (Read 3247 times)

skekses

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How do I stop this cycle?
« on: November 01, 2020, 10:04:45 PM »
I have the type of personality that makes me care very deeply about the work that I do. I demand a lot out of myself and I've always gotten good reviews at work. The trouble is that the reward for doing good work seems to be...more work. It doesn't net me amazing raises or promotions, but I do start to get really stressed out as the workload builds up. Eventually (usually within 2-3 years) I get tired and cranky and then I end up switching to the next company where the cycle repeats itself. The upside is that the job hopping has helped to adjust my salary upwards over time. The downside is that I have to shake up my world every few years which is its own kind of stress.

I'm now finding myself in a difficult situation. For the most part, I like my job. I'm not bored, I learn a lot, I get to work with a bunch of different people/companies, my salary is more than I need because I don't need much, and I'm able to work remotely so Covid hasn't really impacted me. However, once again I find myself completely overloaded with work and in the two years I've worked there, I haven't gotten a raise despite glowing reviews (I have asked - they didn't say yes and they didn't say no, which is effectively a no). I'm starting to get that angsty feeling again. It's not like I need more money, but I do feel entitled to some kind of recognition when I'm busting my butt all of the time and I strongly dislike this game they are playing. Unfortunately it isn't a great time to look for another job.

Is there any way out of this cycle? Other people seem fine staying in the same job for years and years. My ambition/sense of entitlement doesn't ever allow me to settle. I wish I could turn off my ambition or care less about the work that I do, but I've never been that person and I don't know how to do that. Anyone have any tips for letting go?


Sid Hoffman

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2020, 10:40:53 PM »
Unfortunately it isn't a great time to look for another job.

Is there any way out of this cycle? Other people seem fine staying in the same job for years and years. My ambition/sense of entitlement doesn't ever allow me to settle. I wish I could turn off my ambition or care less about the work that I do, but I've never been that person and I don't know how to do that. Anyone have any tips for letting go?

I wouldn't say that this is a bad time to look for a job. If you're a valuable worker, then hard times can be when companies start to panic and realize they may still need to pay top dollar to get high value workers. After all, you don't need a million employers willing to hire you, only one. So even if there's half as many companies hiring, the companies hiring are basically the winner's circle - the only the wealthiest or healthiest companies are happily hiring in the midst of a recession, and those are the ones most likely to offer you good employment terms.

For me, the most important part was making my big financial independence spreadsheet and keeping the focus on work just as a means to complete the next and final 7 years of my independence plan. I'm not a huge fan of my current job, but it's perfectly fine and if this is where I can finish out my final 7 years, that's fine with me. It's where you put your focus. Do you want to focus on the work, or focus on your goal? If the goal is simply enough money while also having enough time to yourself to keep your stress levels down, that can help you self-regulate while at work.

deborah

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2020, 11:28:03 PM »
Have you talked to your boss about having too much? Can you identify what you’re doing, and just how much time you need to do each thing?

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2020, 01:33:23 AM »
Sounds very familiar. You know what I have learned? The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The morons that do fuck all and whine a lot get promoted. You keep your head down and work hard, nada. Bitch more.

cool7hand

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2020, 04:12:40 AM »
+1 on the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You have to find a way that works for your personality to promote yourself.


BikeFanatic

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 04:20:02 AM »
I have similar personality and at my last job I cut back 20 percent to be more in line with others. No one noticed. You can do the same or complain that you are overworked see what happens. You can also look for another job as others have said.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2020, 05:14:30 AM »
I have similar personality and at my last job I cut back 20 percent to be more in line with others. No one noticed. You can do the same or complain that you are overworked see what happens. You can also look for another job as others have said.

+1 to this. Dial it back and find satisfaction outside of work. Or, raise your voice.

Have you looked into other types of jobs that may have more variable comp? Something like a sales role might be a better fit as it would let you earn more if you're outperforming.

skekses

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2020, 06:55:24 AM »
Thanks all, I've started taking a look at jobs to see what is out there. If I'm going to leave, I want to make sure I'm going to something that sounds interesting and not just something different. I will also start whining more. I have talked to my boss about being overworked, but he already knows because he's in the same position. The overwork was inevitable. Things got quieter over the summer and they made a decision not to replace people that left and now we are feeling the consequences of that decision. My job isn't easy, though. It's hard to find a good person and it takes time to get them up to speed. One would think I would be in a solid bargaining position right now, and yet apparently I'm ignorable.

I have similar personality and at my last job I cut back 20 percent to be more in line with others. No one noticed. You can do the same or complain that you are overworked see what happens. You can also look for another job as others have said.

How did you cut back 20%? Was it working less overtime hours or 20% less effort within your 40 hours?

former player

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2020, 07:17:58 AM »
If you want to work less, then make a list of all your jobs, prioritise them in agreement with your boss, and tell everyone who will not be getting what they expect at the time they expect it that you do not have the resources to provide what they are expecting more quickly.  Refer them to your boss for any questions.   Then make sure you are working your contracted hours and no more: switch off that computer and go do something else that is nicer than working.

If you want more money, make a list of everything you have done over the last months, noting any particular successes and the value you have provided to your employer (eg additional income earned, costs saved, problems resolved.  Add in comparison salaries for similar jobs, and give it to your boss.  He should get the message and pass it on.

Might as well try to improve things where you are before moving on, right?  it sounds as though you are very employable and don't have much to lose.

Greystache

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2020, 08:03:21 AM »
Do you have FU money yet? If so, instead of moving when job duties start piling up, just tell your boss no when you reach your limit. Push back and engineer the job to suit yourself. The worst that can happen is you get fired.

Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2020, 08:41:41 AM »
First, most importantly, stop misidentifying how you behave as a personality trait. You are not your behaviours, your behaviours are simply the one way in which you choose to express parts of yourself, but those behaviours are totally changeable. The more you adopt them as an identity though, the harder they are to change.

Your behaviours are just a well-tread pattern that feels intuitive and automatic because it is. It's nothing more than another habit though, and habits can be changed if you choose to let go of them and try alternatives.

I know this because I used to be just like you until I realized that the only person making me take on extra work was me. I dramatically changed that habit, learned the amazing word "no", and almost like magic, my natural drive and ambition actually managed to express themselves *more* effectively when I stopped bogging myself down with tasks that didn't serve my purposes. I started thinking more like a business person than like an employee and started seeing my own effort as a precious resource that needed to be maximized, not slowed down with sludge.

No one recognizes the value of your work when you are the dumping ground for extra tasks, they only value you as the place to dump extra tasks. It may be your ambition motivating you to behave this way, but that's only because your ambition doesn't actually know how to get what it wants. If it knew a more effective way, it would do that instead. See? Your behaviour can't be your identity, because your behaviour isn't even getting you what you're trying to get. It's obviously not who you are if it's not actually working.

It's like a single woman who really wants to find love and keeps going to bars and drunkenly flirting with gross men. It might be the only strategy she knows to meet men, but it's ineffective and it's not who she is. Who she is is someone who wants love, but how she is behaving is going to produce a life where she gets used.

That's what's happening to you. You want professional respect and reward, but instead you're getting used as a work-donkey who doesn't say no.

You don't need to become a different person to behave very differently, you just need to shift your frame of reference from "do everything asked of me to prove my worth" to "be judicious about what I spend my precious energy on in order to reserve my resources to put them more effectively towards the tasks that will clearly demonstrate my enormous value".

You aren't stuck with your habits. Habits just feel like they're intrinsic to who you are, but once you learn to alter them, which is surprisingly easy, you start realizing how flimsy they actually are, and how little power they actually have over you. I can tell you from experience, it's almost embarrassing once you learn how easily you could have just, well, not done the things you've always done that didn't actually work for you. And by kind of embarrassing, I mean very embarrassing, lol.

All you need is a willingness to perceive your own behaviour as fundamentally changeable, and a reasonable alternative behaviour to sub in and try. Career advancement is a skill like anything else, and it's easily learnable. It can be a bit counter-intuitive, which is why so many people suck at getting rewarded professionally, but that's largely because they blind themselves to the fact that it's a skill.

Do some research, read some books, listen to some podcasts, find a mentor, etc. Do whatever you need to to learn the skills you need to accomplish the outcomes you desire. Don't get bogged down in some nonsense identity that says that this is who are you. Fuck that, and go learn how to behave the way that actually gets you what you want.

I can tell you from my experience, I didn't take my work any less seriously when I started being picky about where I put my effort. If anything, I felt like for the first time in my life, I finally was actually taking it as seriously as I should, because top notch professionals do not waste their energy on anything. When you become ferociously protective of your time and energy, that's when you are giving your work the maximum respect it deserves, and that's when you really start getting shit done.




BlueHouse

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2020, 09:04:27 AM »
As usual, Malcat has brilliant advice. 

I'd just add to think of your job the same way we are told to think of our savings goals:  Pay yourself first. 
So for every bit of work you accept, think about what's in it for you.  Is this helping you advance your work goals, personal goals, some bigger goal, or is it just helping some megacorp get rich while you get no benefit?

I was in that cycle for a long time and getting paid hourly really made a huge difference to me.  While I was salaried, I always thought I needed to be first in, last out every day.  and that I needed to put in killer hours because that's what responsible people with good work ethic did. 
Once I went hourly, the only thing that changed was I realized just how many family events I had missed because work was too important.  Or how my bosses were at home enjoying time off while I was still working.   Now if I need to work extra, I count the dollars and determine whether it's worth it to me. 

Villanelle

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2020, 09:13:51 AM »
Come up with 5-6 lines you can use (so that you don't panic when put on the spot) to decline work.

"I'm sorry, but with projects X and Y, plus my other workload, there's no way I can effectively do [Thing they are asking].  If Thing is the priority, then let me know what other items you want me to put on the backburner.  Otherwise, it might make more sense to give Thing to someone else."

"I'm swamped and don't think I'll have the time needed for Thing, unfortunately."

"There's no way I could get to that for at least a few weeks.  Unless that timeline works or you take something else off my plate, it will need to fo to someone else."

Etc. 

And if they didn't say no to the raise, ask again.  (I'd ask again immediately, before I started doing much of the declining of new stuff. You want to be at your shiny best--most valuable to them--when you ask for more money.)

Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2020, 09:19:23 AM »
As usual, Malcat has brilliant advice. 

I'd just add to think of your job the same way we are told to think of our savings goals:  Pay yourself first. 
So for every bit of work you accept, think about what's in it for you.  Is this helping you advance your work goals, personal goals, some bigger goal, or is it just helping some megacorp get rich while you get no benefit?

I was in that cycle for a long time and getting paid hourly really made a huge difference to me.  While I was salaried, I always thought I needed to be first in, last out every day.  and that I needed to put in killer hours because that's what responsible people with good work ethic did. 
Once I went hourly, the only thing that changed was I realized just how many family events I had missed because work was too important.  Or how my bosses were at home enjoying time off while I was still working.   Now if I need to work extra, I count the dollars and determine whether it's worth it to me.

Ugh, it's so offensive to me that the first-in, last-out, work work work mentality somehow got programmed into our culture as "work ethic".

Now that I've actually been the boss to many, many staff members, I can't stand those people. They're inefficient, unhappy, and promote inefficiency within the system. Give me a staff member who can get shit done in half the time with a smile on their face and I'll want to clone them. It's the ones who make it look effortless and always take a full lunch break who generally do the best work.
 

Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2020, 09:32:46 AM »
Come up with 5-6 lines you can use (so that you don't panic when put on the spot) to decline work.

"I'm sorry, but with projects X and Y, plus my other workload, there's no way I can effectively do [Thing they are asking].  If Thing is the priority, then let me know what other items you want me to put on the backburner.  Otherwise, it might make more sense to give Thing to someone else."

"I'm swamped and don't think I'll have the time needed for Thing, unfortunately."

"There's no way I could get to that for at least a few weeks.  Unless that timeline works or you take something else off my plate, it will need to fo to someone else."

Etc. 

And if they didn't say no to the raise, ask again.  (I'd ask again immediately, before I started doing much of the declining of new stuff. You want to be at your shiny best--most valuable to them--when you ask for more money.)

Personally, I wouldn't phrase it the above way, because they sound apologetic.

The last one is closest to what I would say, but I would phrase it a bit differently.
I would say:
"Yeah sure, I can take that on! Here's what I'm currently assigning my time to, which project would you like me to delay to prioritize this instead?"
"I absolutely can, but so-and-so has far more expertise on that and can probably do it more efficiently. I can do it if they don't have the bandwidth for it, but I'll either have to put X project on hold. You could reassign it to someone else, but X is what I'm best at, so I'm not sure that's the most efficient to reassign what I'm best at to focus on something I'm less skilled at."
"Sure can boss! Let me know when you would like to sit down and go over my current taskings to see how you would like it prioritized."
Notice that none of the above are saying no to the tasking, they're saying no to taking on extra work.

Basically, again, stop thinking like an employee and think the way a boss does. I can tell you from experience that bosses are always juggling what resources they have among their staff. If you can try and understand that and speak their language, it will be collaborative instead of rejecting their request. You don't know what their stresses are, so perhaps getting this stupid little thing done *is* really critical to the business function, and that little thing might be the key to you getting recognition. Opening communication about effective use of you as a resource gives you insight into what the business really needs from you, and what parts of your daily taskings will be seen with the highest value.

It allows you to explain your limits, while also allowing you to constantly showcase your work, your thinking, your commitment, your interest in the function of the business, and your commitment to helping make your boss's life easier.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 09:35:07 AM by Malcat »

tawyer

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2020, 11:14:08 AM »
There's some great advice on this thread. I think it really just comes down to standing up for yourself and saying "no". If the work is coming from your supervisor, they are responsible for prioritizing. If the work is requests from others, send it over to your supervisor.

The comment about thinking about the business is spot on: it makes no business sense to overwork and burn out a competent, responsible employee; by saying "no", either implicitly or explicitly, you are exposing poor resourcing responsibly and helping those up the food chain make decisions about priorities.

thesis

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2020, 11:28:47 AM »
Very recently I came across this link over at the ERE forums (where I'm only a lurker presently): https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-or-the-office-according-to-the-office/

These articles are long, and I don't believe they are a perfect representation of reality, but they are extremely useful at explaining common behaviors seen in white collar work. It sounds like you might fit into the "Clueless" category (though, please read the articles to not misunderstand me)

Honestly, sometimes leaving is the best way to get promoted or get a raise. If you have good documentation and possible references to back up your hard work, make sure to capture that well when applying for other jobs. It doesn't sound like your current company appreciates you as much as you deserve. It sucks moving on all the time, but that's kind of how it works. I, too, take the quality of my work very personally, but these days I do it more for myself than for my organization, which I try to treat fairly, but I'm also on the path to FIRE and so no longer make work too personal :-)

Quote
The Clueless are the ones who lack the competence to circulate freely through the economy (unlike Sociopaths and Losers), and build up a perverse sense of loyalty to the firm, even when events make it abundantly clear that the firm is not loyal to them. To sustain themselves, they must be capable of fashioning elaborate delusions based on idealized notions of the firm — the perfectly pathological entities we mentioned. Unless squeezed out by forces they cannot resist, they hang on as long as possible...
Don't let this be your career!

tawyer

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2020, 12:24:06 PM »
Very recently I came across this link over at the ERE forums (where I'm only a lurker presently): https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-or-the-office-according-to-the-office/
<snip>
This. I read this about a decade ago and the three labels, although harsh, have proved so apt everywhere throughout my career.

Sandi_k

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2020, 12:37:58 PM »
There's some great advice on this thread. I think it really just comes down to standing up for yourself and saying "no".


I make it a point to never actually say "no." Malcat has it right...

"Yeah, I can absolutely do that for you, once I'm done working on X & Y with a deadline of next Friday!"

"Oh, sure, I'll be delighted to take that on, once I return from my scheduled-a-year-ago vacation on Nov. 16th."

"That looks like something I can get the data on; I'll have to run the report and take some time to write it up; the system is in blackout dates for the next two days, so I expect that the earliest I can get that to you is next Tuesday."

"Yes, I know that we have those stats; it's typically produced by the XY team, have you asked them for an updated report? I've cc'd the supervisor of that team on this note, I'm sure they can help you."

It's also worth noting that I don't go more than 3 years in my job without doing an internal check on salaries. My latest one was effective Feb 2019, and I got a 16% raise because I was headhunted for another job. I decided after the first two sets of interviews that I didn't want the job (which would have been a 30% raise!), but I refused to talk to my boss about any salary bump until I'd gone through some of the motions. It gave him time to visualize what life would be like without me...and he realized he'd have to hire at least *two* people to do the work that I do.

So I asked for 20%, he admitted he only wanted to do 10%, I showed him the comparison salaries of my colleagues, and reminded him that I had been HEADHUNTED. He flipped to 16% in under 3 minutes of discussion.

So: do your homework, and tell them what they should be paying you. Don't just ask for a raise because you've been there for awhile.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 12:43:28 PM by Sandi_k »

tawyer

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2020, 01:46:21 PM »
There's some great advice on this thread. I think it really just comes down to standing up for yourself and saying "no".

I make it a point to never actually say "no." Malcat has it right...

"Yeah, I can absolutely do that for you, once I'm done working on X & Y with a deadline of next Friday!"

"Oh, sure, I'll be delighted to take that on, once I return from my scheduled-a-year-ago vacation on Nov. 16th."

"That looks like something I can get the data on; I'll have to run the report and take some time to write it up; the system is in blackout dates for the next two days, so I expect that the earliest I can get that to you is next Tuesday."

"Yes, I know that we have those stats; it's typically produced by the XY team, have you asked them for an updated report? I've cc'd the supervisor of that team on this note, I'm sure they can help you."

<snip>
Quite. The art of saying "no" without using the word itself, as the removed part of my comment implied.

skekses

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2020, 06:02:54 PM »
Thanks to all - I feel like I need to re-read through all of this a few times to really internalize some of the messages. This part in particular smacked of truth:

Quote
It's like a single woman who really wants to find love and keeps going to bars and drunkenly flirting with gross men. It might be the only strategy she knows to meet men, but it's ineffective and it's not who she is. Who she is is someone who wants love, but how she is behaving is going to produce a life where she gets used.

That's what's happening to you. You want professional respect and reward, but instead you're getting used as a work-donkey who doesn't say no.

That makes me laugh every time. It hurts so good!

Each time I hope "this one will appreciate me!" Nope. Well, not in the way that I want. I want to feel like my boss has my back, but even if I feel like they personally value me, it's up to me to make the career moves happen. Frankly, it is exhausting. It's always been easier for me to move on then to navigate the office politics.

Also, what you have been saying about saying no rings true. My most successful year, I surrendered. I did the least amount of work of my entire career and my review was an exercise in creative writing. They couldn't have been happier with me that year. A recruiter managed to lure me away before the promotion came. The golden ticket I had been waiting for and I still walked away because I was mentally done with that job. Was that the right or the wrong decision? I don't know. It doesn't matter now.




Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2020, 08:48:14 PM »
Thanks to all - I feel like I need to re-read through all of this a few times to really internalize some of the messages. This part in particular smacked of truth:

Quote
It's like a single woman who really wants to find love and keeps going to bars and drunkenly flirting with gross men. It might be the only strategy she knows to meet men, but it's ineffective and it's not who she is. Who she is is someone who wants love, but how she is behaving is going to produce a life where she gets used.

That's what's happening to you. You want professional respect and reward, but instead you're getting used as a work-donkey who doesn't say no.

That makes me laugh every time. It hurts so good!

Each time I hope "this one will appreciate me!" Nope. Well, not in the way that I want. I want to feel like my boss has my back, but even if I feel like they personally value me, it's up to me to make the career moves happen. Frankly, it is exhausting. It's always been easier for me to move on then to navigate the office politics.

Also, what you have been saying about saying no rings true. My most successful year, I surrendered. I did the least amount of work of my entire career and my review was an exercise in creative writing. They couldn't have been happier with me that year. A recruiter managed to lure me away before the promotion came. The golden ticket I had been waiting for and I still walked away because I was mentally done with that job. Was that the right or the wrong decision? I don't know. It doesn't matter now.

Y'know, IRL people are always quoting me back to myself and my reaction is almost always, without fail "No, I didn't really say that, did I?"

And then people quote me here and I read what I wrote and sometimes have the same reaction.

I swear I don't even realize how ridiculous the things I say are when I say them.

As for your previous experience, it wasn't the wrong decision because you were already burnt out and burnt out staff are poison and need to leave.

Now, I'm going to share a perspective that you might not like. I blame you more for your burnouts than your managers. I've managed a lot of donkeys in my time, and because I used to be one, I thought I could rehab them, but like actual donkeys, they usually proved too stubborn to break of their habits unless their motivation was internal.

Eventually, I just accepted that most donkeys want to be donkeys and will always take on more work than they can handle until they burn themselves out. Thankfully, they usually quit when this happens, which saves on having to pay to fire them. It's always too bad because they're lovely to work with before they grind themselves into the ground and become bitter and blame it on me for not appreciating them.

But think about it from my perspective. Why on earth would I ever promote or give a significant raise to anyone whom I can easily predict will burn themselves out??? What would you do if you owned the business?

Companies don't give promotions and raises as rewards, that's total nonsense. We give them as incentives for performance and retention. If you're going to drive yourself into the ground, then why would I invest in you? I don't want you to stick around, I want you to quit once you're burnt and bitter.

I really, really don't want a donkey in a very senior position because not only are burnt out senior managers/executives dangerous, they're also way too expensive to fire.

I recently saw a donkey in an executive position and they were slowly sinking the entire ship. I was like "Who the hell put them in that position??!! They have no idea how to say "no"! This is a disaster!"

I know this all sounds harsh, but it really isn't. For the people running your company, people quitting and being fired is just part of the normal day-to-day operations of a business, so everyone is viewed with respect to how much longer they have at the company, and raises and promotions are just levers within that system to modulate those timelines.

They are NOT rewards for good behaviour and loyalty. Employees think that way, the people who run businesses don't. You weren't getting the rewards you wanted because you mispercieved them as rewards in the first place. They just aren't, raises and promotions are leverage, not rewards.

That's why switching companies usually is the best path to a raise. You aren't being rewarded for your work, you're taking advantage of the lever the new company has at their disposal to recruit you.

Try to reflect on your experience when you stopped giving a fuck and glean practical aspects of your behaviour that worked for you. It wasn't the fed-upness that got recognition, it was your sudden ability to strategically deploy your energy only where it was needed.

Smart people phone it in on tasks that don't really matter and conserve their energy for the tasks that need exceptional results.

It's a cliche that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your tasks, and that 20% of your tasks should take up 80% of your energy, or something like that. Basically, if you figure out the small part of your job that yields the most results, then put the bulk of your energy behind that and titrate down your effort on everything else.

When you stopped giving a fuck, you turned down the volume on everything that you intuitively knew wouldn't have much impact on your performance. Your natural drive to succeed took over and still came through when it mattered though. You prioritized instinctively.

You finally let yourself work by intuition instead of willpower, and it actually got you better results.

I'm sure your bosses appreciated you when you were in donkey-mode, in fact I know they did, because we bosses all love a good donkey while they last, but we love you for being a good donkey, and we'll never see you as a champion race horse unless you stop acting like a slow, cart-dragging donkey.

I've been a donkey and been a high performance race horse. I've also been the boss to a lot of donkeys and race horses, and I can tell you very, very clearly that the race horses behave very differently. They aren't pleasers, they don't agree to anything unless it's a good use of their time, and they see demanding their worth as a normal function of business.

What's important for you to understand is that companies are *used to* dealing with race horses. You won't be weird or off putting if you become one, that's why your old employers didn't react negatively to you, because you weren't behaving in a way that was perceived as odd. Just because it's abnormal for you doesn't mean that it's abnormal in business.

People who don't waste their precious time and energy, who get excellent results, who aren't afraid to communicate to their superiors what they need and what they can and cannot do, and know and demand their worth are not just normal in business, they're more respected for it, their behaviour is more predictable, which in the end, actually makes them more dependable.

Learn more about what business is like from a business running perspective. Learn the very teachable skills of communicating your capacity and goals to your direct supervisors. And learn how the levers of promotions and raises actually work within an organization.

These are all shockinglyy simple things to learn.
I hope my intentionally harsh narrative has given you a bit of insight into why your approach hasn't worked at producing the outcomes you have wanted. Hopefully you retire your inner donkey and find your race horse if that's what you decide is your goal.

ChpBstrd

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2020, 10:19:35 AM »
First, familiarize yourself with the Pareto principle. Then start eliminating unnecessary work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

If 80% of your work is only yielding 20% of the results, that means you could chop out half of your work and only lose about 13% productivity (20%/80% = X/50%) if you are able to identify the least important half of what you do. Lean processes apply to our own lives too.   

-unsubscribe from email lists
-delegate projects/tasks to subordinates or up-and-coming coworkers, for whom they would be a welcome career move
-ask meeting organizers if you are really needed in meetings
-ask meeting organizers if the meetings could occur half as often
-propose to replace meetings with chats on IM software or distributed reports
-stop double-handling things like emails, tasks, etc.
-stop attempting to multi-task and instead knock out one thing at a time, you lose 20 min of focus on each transition
-If you update a system 12x per day could you batch that into one step?
-check email less often

In my work, I've quietly stopped doing some things that are quite frankly make-work tasks. Everyone marvels at my productivity because I'm able to promptly deliver consistent quality on the 20% of stuff that matters. Nobody knows I put in maybe 4h of work per day instead of 8.

katsiki

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2020, 02:18:53 PM »
First, familiarize yourself with the Pareto principle. Then start eliminating unnecessary work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

If 80% of your work is only yielding 20% of the results, that means you could chop out half of your work and only lose about 13% productivity (20%/80% = X/50%) if you are able to identify the least important half of what you do. Lean processes apply to our own lives too.   

-unsubscribe from email lists
-delegate projects/tasks to subordinates or up-and-coming coworkers, for whom they would be a welcome career move
-ask meeting organizers if you are really needed in meetings
-ask meeting organizers if the meetings could occur half as often
-propose to replace meetings with chats on IM software or distributed reports
-stop double-handling things like emails, tasks, etc.
-stop attempting to multi-task and instead knock out one thing at a time, you lose 20 min of focus on each transition
-If you update a system 12x per day could you batch that into one step?
-check email less often

In my work, I've quietly stopped doing some things that are quite frankly make-work tasks. Everyone marvels at my productivity because I'm able to promptly deliver consistent quality on the 20% of stuff that matters. Nobody knows I put in maybe 4h of work per day instead of 8.

Great list - thanks @ChpBstrd !

Can you elaborate or give an example of this item? 

-stop double-handling things like emails, tasks, etc.

Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2020, 02:24:57 PM »
First, familiarize yourself with the Pareto principle. Then start eliminating unnecessary work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

If 80% of your work is only yielding 20% of the results, that means you could chop out half of your work and only lose about 13% productivity (20%/80% = X/50%) if you are able to identify the least important half of what you do. Lean processes apply to our own lives too.   

-unsubscribe from email lists
-delegate projects/tasks to subordinates or up-and-coming coworkers, for whom they would be a welcome career move
-ask meeting organizers if you are really needed in meetings
-ask meeting organizers if the meetings could occur half as often
-propose to replace meetings with chats on IM software or distributed reports
-stop double-handling things like emails, tasks, etc.
-stop attempting to multi-task and instead knock out one thing at a time, you lose 20 min of focus on each transition
-If you update a system 12x per day could you batch that into one step?
-check email less often

In my work, I've quietly stopped doing some things that are quite frankly make-work tasks. Everyone marvels at my productivity because I'm able to promptly deliver consistent quality on the 20% of stuff that matters. Nobody knows I put in maybe 4h of work per day instead of 8.

Great list - thanks @ChpBstrd !

Can you elaborate or give an example of this item? 

-stop double-handling things like emails, tasks, etc.

I know you're not asking me, but it usually means not going back to things repeatedly. For example like opening an email, deciding to deal with it later, only to have to go back and read it again, and decide again if that's the right time to deal with it, perhaps putting it off again, and then going back and opening it again to address it, and so on and so on.

People lose a shocking amount of time on revisiting things over and over again instead of breaking them down efficiently and tackling them at the appropriate time.

I'm not a huge Tim Ferriss fan, but he covers this kind of thing pretty well in 4 Hour Work Week, and he is the reason I only check my email twice a day and have no notifications on my phone except for text messages.

ChpBstrd

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2020, 02:39:38 PM »
/\ @Malcat accurately describes my thoughts above.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen is a good intro to the mindset. Even though it is old (circa 2001) and talks about the physical movement of paper a lot, a creative person can generalize the lessons to the modern technical environment. I found it painful to read, but necessary. I think it was Allen who said you should decide what to do with an email within a matter of seconds. If it is informative and you can read it in less than 2 min, just do it. If it is asking you to reply or do a task that takes 2 min or less, just do it. File larger tasks/requests in a “ticker file” such as your Outlook to-do list or calendar. Things like that. Whatever you do, don’t keep browsing over an ever-increasing pile of info all day, losing focus each time you handle something new. Either do it immediately or organize it for a future time immediately.

Malcat

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2020, 02:41:17 PM »
/\ @Malcat accurately describes my thoughts above.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen is a good intro to the mindset. Even though it is old (circa 2001) and talks about the physical movement of paper a lot, a creative person can generalize the lessons to the modern technical environment. I found it painful to read, but necessary. I think it was Allen who said you should decide what to do with an email within a matter of seconds. If it is informative and you can read it in less than 2 min, just do it. If it is asking you to reply or do a task that takes 2 min or less, just do it. File larger tasks/requests in a “ticker file” such as your Outlook to-do list or calendar. Things like that. Whatever you do, don’t keep browsing over an ever-increasing pile of info all day, losing focus each time you handle something new. Either do it immediately or organize it for a future time immediately.

I used Monday.com and Todoist, there's so much incredible free task management software out there these days.

katsiki

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2020, 02:47:41 PM »
Thanks @ChpBstrd and @Malcat !!

I am familiar with some of these ideas but could definitely improve in this area.  Will check out the book also.

clarkfan1979

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2020, 05:00:06 AM »
I think this is a common problem, which is why the MMM blog is so popular. Save and invest as much as you can, so you can give yourself a raise. I do this every year with rental properties. It happens pretty much every year, even when I do not deserve it because I didn't work harder.

I would echo what others have said and speak up about your workload. If you are not getting raises, try to give some of your work to someone else.

I teach community college. Due to COVID-19, we didn't get any raises and we are told no raises for at least two more years. I'm cool with it. I will just spend more time on improving my rentals.

Kroaler

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Re: How do I stop this cycle?
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2020, 06:37:55 PM »
"The better you get, the better you better get!"

Its a treadmill. The more you do the more you will be ask to do. 40 hours, 60 hours, 80 hours + 24/7 remote phone support.

What's that? The bosses bosses boss is calling? Your the only one?    Stop being the only one.

Corporations lean on the people who will do more with no reward.  More work for less money. Everyone wins but you.



I have no actionable advice though. I was in your same place.  I decided to pursue entrepreneurship. . . So not very useful for you.