Author Topic: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.  (Read 4908 times)

MrsCoolCat

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Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« on: December 21, 2014, 08:08:15 PM »
Original post deleted for privacy & just in case. 😊
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 02:16:28 PM by ChinaChao »

firewalker

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 08:34:02 PM »
Corp. can be a drain. Some find it better to have more time and life now while living on less, therefore earning less with a different job field.

DoubleDown

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 08:39:07 AM »
I'd say the best way to always overcome these obstacles is to have options. Look around and start applying. You can always turn down offers that are not good enough to make you leave, and having choices is always better. I'd also say don't limit yourself -- consider government, non-profits, self-employment, whatever. Not all employers or jobs will be miserable. There are plenty of jobs with decent pay and reasonable expectations. For example, I worked in government, and unless you're in a job that specifically requires overtime (and pays heavy overtime for, by the way), you'll work no more than 40 hours/week, and your time off is your own.

DoubleDown

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 08:41:47 AM »
I'd say the best way to always overcome these obstacles is to have options. Look around and start applying. You can always turn down offers that are not good enough to make you leave, and having choices is always better. I'd also say don't limit yourself -- consider government, non-profits, self-employment, whatever. Not all employers or jobs will be miserable. There are plenty of jobs with decent pay and reasonable expectations. For example, I worked in government, and unless you're in a job that specifically requires overtime (and pays heavy overtime for, by the way), you'll work no more than 40 hours/week, and your time off is your own.

Thanks. This is actually one of the better companies. It's just that management micromanages and is inefficient because I am sidetracked from my own work to do other stuff but really, that's nothing new. I appreciate the advice though.

Oh yeah, I hear ya. There's a reason that Dilbert is so popular and resonates with so many people. I'm convinced there are at least 10 million pointy-haired bosses in the U.S. Would a transfer within the company help at all, or just be more of the same in a different department?

I don't know how far along you are on your path to FIRE, but hopefully you'll find liberation as your stash grows bigger and bigger. Then at least you'll recognize you're there more and more on your terms, and less and less on theirs.

Finally, words of questionable wisdom from an increasingly grey-haired grey-beard (who made it quite high in the corporate and government worlds): It's amazing how far you can get in your career by not giving too much of a f*ck. When the company starts sucking your soul, just say no (metaphorically or even literally if you have to). Don't let them overwhelm your life, don't volunteer for or take on that additional assignment they want to give you, don't kill yourself to meet the unreasonable deadlines they arbitrarily came up with, don't answer when they call you at home, don't respond to the email at home. Be an efficient and valued worker, but keep your personal time personal. And being friendly, jovial, and well-liked by your colleagues and boss counts as much or more than completing 1,000 TPS Reports. Having options lets you walk any time they intrude beyond your tolerance.

Good luck!

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 08:48:45 AM »
Finally, words of questionable wisdom from an increasingly grey-haired grey-beard (who made it quite high in the corporate and government worlds): It's amazing how far you can get in your career by not giving too much of a f*ck. When the company starts sucking your soul, just say no (metaphorically or even literally if you have to). Don't let them overwhelm your life, don't volunteer for or take on that additional assignment they want to give you, don't kill yourself to meet the unreasonable deadlines they arbitrarily came up with, don't answer when they call you at home, don't respond to the email at home. Be an efficient and valued worker, but keep your personal time personal. And being friendly, jovial, and well-liked by your colleagues and boss counts as much or more than completing 1,000 TPS Reports.

Seems to me that there is a bit of a disconnect between "not caring too much" and saying no to additional assignments/projects, and being "well-liked by your . . . boss."

If your boss is the one that is giving you additional assignments and projects, how do you say no and not care too much while remaining well-liked?

DoubleDown

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 09:16:18 AM »
Seems to me that there is a bit of a disconnect between "not caring too much" and saying no to additional assignments/projects, and being "well-liked by your . . . boss."

If your boss is the one that is giving you additional assignments and projects, how do you say no and not care too much while remaining well-liked?

By saying first thing when you come in, "Good morning Boss! How's it going today?" Maybe ask them how the previous day's round of golf went, or if their wife who was sick the other day is feeling better, or if their kid got that giant homework assignment done (you'll know these things because you will check in with them all the time and ask them how they're doing). That is, show interest in them as a person. Same goes for co-workers. As the relationship progresses, you might even joke with them how you hope you don't have to golf against them some day, or whatever.

Once idle chit-chat is done with the boss (which probably took all of 20-30 seconds), I might tell them the status of that project I'm working on that they care about. Or, tell them something positive that developed, or that Client X was pleased with the demo we gave them, etc. That is, demonstrate to them that I'm doing something of value to them and keeping them informed without them having to ask me about it.

Doing those things, your boss (and co-workers) are going to like you. Your boss is not likely going to dump the crappy work or extra assignments on you, because he likes you. If something bad has to happen like layoffs or salary cuts, you'll be last in line because they like you and value you. If you don't complete the 1000th TPS report, they likely won't even give it a second thought since they probably don't need it anyway. And if they do think about it, they'll figure you're a solid guy/gal and probably figured out on your own that report is pretty useless. If they really do need or insist on that TPS report, they'll tell you and then you'll have to do it, or pitch them on a better way to get the information without the TPS report. They'll listen to you because they like you.

I'm not saying I'd institute a "zero tolerance" policy for being called at home, or that it's okay to be a slacker -- far from it. If they called me at home (sparingly), I'd do my best to be super helpful. If there was truly an emergency (and I mean emergency), I'd handle it as best I could. If it's not an emergency, I'd tell them the action plan and that I'll address it first thing in the morning when I get to work. If they start abusing the privilege of calling me at home and professing emergencies all the time, then it's time to exercise those other options, such as transferring within the company (easily done since others like you so much) or taking a job elsewhere.

My point is that being the friendly, jovial and caring guy/gal at work counts as much or more than doing BS work. A lot of really good workers with their heads down are overlooked because they're quiet and viewed as "asocial" or unfriendly -- i.e., not the kind you could put in front of a client, not a leader, not promotable.

DoubleDown

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 09:25:16 AM »
By the way OP, I wanted to add something on the review angle: You may already know that in a large organization, performance reviews are kind of a self-feeding process, a game. Managers do them because they have to, employees do them because they have to, all in the name of "improvement", and then the content of them is quickly forgotten or ignored.

Now, if your supervisor is giving you specific, targeted feedback on your individual performance that makes sense, it shouldn't be ignored by you. Like if my manager said to me, "DoubleDown, your work is okay but picking your nose at your desk is really holding you back. It's offensive, you need to stop it to progress here."

But 99.9% of the time, the feedback is vague and handed out to everyone about the same. "Take on increasing responsibility", "seek leadership opportunities", "enhance training", etc. On performance reviews I've given, or promotion panels/etc., EVERYONE is given feedback to "do better." Even the highest-performing, most amazing employees will be given points for improvement or told to work harder. Jesus Christ himself after completing all his miracles would be told to strive for turning 10% more water into wine for FY16.

So, I'd say pay attention to any specific guidance you're being given, but take most of it with a huge grain of salt. Being told to "work harder" is probably par for the course for everyone. Of course MegaCorp will squeeze every bit of additional work they can out of everyone.

benjenn

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 09:38:09 AM »
Having only worked in a "corporate" environment for the last 5 years after our long-time general manager retired and was replaced with a corporate guy, our former cooperative form of business has definitely changed.  They still SAY we're a cooperative but you couldn't tell it by looking.  Our new performance reviews are a joke.  There's no such thing as a merit raise anymore... everyone gets the same paltry percentage that would be a cost-of-living adjustment if they called it that but they call it a wage adjustment instead.  Except that I didn't get one for the last two years because my salary was too close to the maximum in the wage scale for my position (I've been in this position 15 years and at the company for 23)... the new boss thinks everyone should be somewhere between the mid-point and 75% of the wage scale so until I fell into that range, I got no increase.  When I told him this means that 75% of the wage scale is actually the new maximum, he argued that no, the maximum was still at the top, it's just that no one can reach it.  What the what?

Anyway... I could continue to work here for another 8 years and have a full pension (51% of my top salary) but the way things have changed, hubby and I have decided it's just not worth it any longer and we'd rather have more time together doing what we want to do than having high-paying, high-stress jobs - especially when there's no longer any feeling of appreciation for my efforts.  So we'll be retiring by Thanksgiving of 2015 instead... and my pension will be about 20% of my salary instead of 51% (which still makes it what MMM lives on now)... and we think it's definitely going to be worth it.  I'll still do my job until then... but I definitely won't be giving it 100%... won't be answering emails on the weekends or vacations... and won't miss it.

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 12:04:48 PM »
Ty everyone.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 02:17:43 PM by ChinaChao »

Exflyboy

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 05:48:30 PM »
The older and more cynical I have become has lead me to the belief that the salaried worker is just a target to pile as much work on as possible. Note how the company complains when an hourly paid worker has to do additional hours.. I never heard a peep when the salaried engineers in my organisation were suffering all kinds of stress disorders thru putting in too many hours.

Note also when you ask for time off the standard line is "well we don't comensate extra time worked  one for one!'.. Like WTF?

It sucks and it takes a strong will to draw firm line of what you will and won't do..

The best advice I can give is to suck it up and earn the  most money you can for the time your prepared to work.. all the time living as far below your means as possible.. then FIRE.

RE means you can do anything you want. For me it means I took on (an hourly paid) part time job.. and gosh darn its actually a fun job... its amazing how much fun work can be when you don't need it.

Frank

babysnowbyrd

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 06:39:38 PM »
By the way OP, I wanted to add something on the review angle: You may already know that in a large organization, performance reviews are kind of a self-feeding process, a game. Managers do them because they have to, employees do them because they have to, all in the name of "improvement", and then the content of them is quickly forgotten or ignored.

I'm new at my company, but I already know some stories about performance reviews. Unless you're a "super star" you'll most likely get rated as average. It's just the thing to do, I guess. Rate everyone average. It still comes with a bump in pay but of course it's bigger if you're a super star.

Where I work, there's an office-side and a workshop-side. Guys in the workshop are usually 40 hr/wk but in crunch time can put in a LOT of OT. A few men on the office side routinely miss work. They come in later and leave earlier. One is so predictable that when we know the manager will be gone, we know he won't show up at all. Another is often gone "golfing with clients."

However, there are a few female employees on the office side who routinely put in OT. It's because they care and want to get as much done as possible. There's always plenty of work for them, because everyone else's mistakes lands on them. They have to fix it, or stop what their normal job is to chase other people down for answers/fixes. On of the women is salaried, so she gets nothing for the overtime. She's been with the company 10 years and is used to the average rating. This place would fall to bits without her but she probably comes away from the reviews with a list of things she wants to improve to be better.

The other two women are newer. They had their annual reviews and were rated as "average." Both of them blew up in their own different ways. One had had her review a year or two earlier and as a result, someone else became her direct manager because she refused to have a performance review with the main manager ever again. When her current manager was about to retire he talked her into staying and made arrangements for someone else to be her "direct" supervisor or she would have quit before the next performance review.

The other one had multiple mini-rants "Did _______ get average? I'd like to know! For as many times as he's not showed up for work without any notice, I better not be in the same category as him!" "Well if I'm average, I'd sure like to meet someone above that! Certainly nobody else here goes above and beyond!" plus snarky comments over the next few weeks like, "Well if all I am is average then I can start coming in 15 minutes late!" or if she got frustrated with a problem, "Since I'm average, I'm just going to submit this as it is since I've already spent a few minutes trying to fix it. That should be more than enough."

I'll be sad to be rated average when I get my first review, but at least I'll know I'm in good company!



Exflyboy

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2014, 06:57:56 PM »
Think yourself lucky... Because of the brilliance of the HR department in my last (Highly dysfunctional) company.. it was decided that each department of 10 employees or less had to have a collective performance that was on the standard distribution bell curve.

Thus, by this "outstanding" logic somebody had to be BELOW average!

Because the company paid among the best (staff turnover was huge because of the stress of working there), it meant we were blessed with staff that really were very good indeed (I was their manager and had been an engineer so I knew what "good" was).

So now I had a staff of say 10 and they were all WELL above average because they had been hand picked from the best to work on the project I was responsible for.

Imagine how it felt when I was told at least one of my staff would have to be blow average and go on a "corrective plan" to improve their performance.

Because I was FI.. I flat refused to do that.. and ended up getting fired not long after.. what GREAT shame (not) that was...:)

But yeah I have suffered this BS for 30 years.

Frank

benjenn

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Re: Review Corporate & F.I.R.E.
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2014, 07:39:52 AM »
We were told that we should be happy to get "satisfactory" as our rating and that's what it's been since the new manager came on board 5 years ago.  I've never been "satisfactory" in my life!  That's like saying you should be happy to get a C on a report card.  If the work I do is just satisfactory, there's no way anyone could get a higher rating than that.  Oddly enough, I am certain my performance level has gone down each year.  I'm now aiming to ONLY be satisfactory at work and putting my efforts on getting out of here as soon as possible instead.  I do not understand how anyone could think this is the way to run a company.