The director of my area assigned someone to monitor me. She went to ask everyone I interact with what I do. She tells me to report everything I do every day, even controlling where I sit, and it makes me wonder if I will be fired. What should I do?
It certainly sounds like you are being set up to be fired, but you could spin this another way.
What's another reason someone might be put in to observe your work?
I say you take on that they are observing your work because you are an exemplary employee, efficient, producing amazing results, and they want to study what works here in order to reproduce it. Of course this works best if you do actually bring a strong work ethic, a commitment to excellence, and ownership of the job and your company to your work (If you don't, it's time to start).
Then declare yourself this observer's partner, offer to create the manual for what you do, get (more) curious about how your work affects the health of the company and the value you add, and look with her at what can be done to take that up a notch, to make things work more smoothly with your colleagues, to improve channels of communications and optimize channels of production.
Talk to this person about goal setting for your job and making sure you are focusing on what is most important. Set goals, communicate them well, and exceed them.
In other words, be friggin' amazing. Add value to every interaction
But if the seating bothers you, this is a place you can take a stand. On the other hand, if it's just another slight to your dignity, then personalize and make the new spot beautiful and thank her for the new work space.
Now, if you get fired anyway, you've left a door open behind you that you can always walk back in to for a recommendation, or that you may be invited back into if they really see that you are the best for your job.
And if you don't, take on this way of being for the rest of your working career.
And, if this all sounds way too far fetched, then ask yourself if you were really that into your job anyway, and weren't just setting yourself up to be fired anyway. It doesn't matter that others might occur to be less into their job and even less value to the organization. (This is not for you to judge.) They might smile differently at the boss, actually have better results, or just not be as annoying as you are.
I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart but have never had the guts to start anything because I am a mom and need to be responsible. Am I kidding myself into thinking I have what it takes to run my own business?
Yes and no. Without a plan and actions, you are just a dreamer.
On the other hand, all it takes is one steady customer to be running a business. It might be a very very small business, but it's a world away from dreamer.
You don't need business cards, or a website, or a fancy graphic, or a special office.
You need a customer. Create a plan to get one. JUST ONE. It's best if your plan includes an accountability system, whether a friend, a coach, or a committee (I love the Shaquille O'Neal Interview on Art of Charm on this).
You need small actions, consistently. You're a mom, but you can make one phone call a day to ask for business at a set time every day. That's 365 calls. If one in a hundred says, “Yeah, I'll work with you,” that's 3.6 customers a year.
I trust that once you have the customer, you'll find the time to take care of him.
And switch how you think of things. If you see yourself as an entrepreneur, and you are not taking the actions, you are not being responsible already. In fact, you are modelling appalling behavior. Do you want your kids to just think/dream about stuff, or do you want them to go out and get it?
And in today's world, it can get scary to have to rely on one, or even two, jobs. But if you've got your own business, properly run, and have a decent plan for your future, you've got one heck of a shock absorber if other things go off the rails.
And if you are still stopped, I highly recommend a session with a coach, myself or my wife of course, Schedule Me I also highly recommend doing a course called the Landmark Forum. It's about getting clear of the conversations we have with ourselves that keep us getting in our own ways.
Asked on Quora:
Should I support my musician boyfriend pursue his dreams while he depends on me financially completely? He has been trying for about 6 years.
No. You should tell him to get a damned job and pursue his music on the side.
It's time to stop trying and start doing. And when he takes on his job, he should take on doing it with excellence.
And then, especially if he hates his job, tell him to double down on his music. Work full time at his job, and work full-time at his music, with the same damned intensity.
Then he'll know if he really wants his music, or just likes calling himself a musician.
And don't let him get away with just practicing. A musician performs. Make sure he's booking at least one gig a week, and giving it his all.
But don't you dare suffer for his art. If he wants to suffer for his art, that's great. You can drive him to his gigs, be his sound engineer if you want, and be his biggest fan, but he's got to take on being the damned artist.
Sometimes, I am just blown away by who people are. I share with you here a letter from a fellow member of the Kappa Alpha Society (not the Order, of recent ill repute):
Hi A++os Herz,
I hope your summer has been going brilliantly. I have finished my internship in India working with drones and am back in the USA. I am proud to say I learned a lot and am very excited to see what my field holds for me in the future. I am now trying to figure out what my immediate plan is post graduation. I am debating between a master's, a job, or having my own startup. I eventually would like to have my own startup, a drone services firm, but I understand the amount of work that it takes. I am a passionate and actionable person, so I think this is a viable option for me soon.
I am very interested in University of Pennsylvania's Masters of Urban Spatial Analysis, and was wondering if you had any advice for me to have a leg up in this admissions process.
As for jobs, the firms you shared with me are both very exciting, and to work with either of them would be a very good fit for me. I also wanted to know if you had any contacts at . . . ?
These are my ideas, and any thoughts would be appreciated.
I think you are missing something huge here, and that is that you are a gift to these companies. Your energy, your desire, your interest, your love for this field are apparent.
Most companies are desperate for qualified people. They advertise a position (they hate to do that), and hundreds of people apply that think they can do anything that is within a hundred miles of the work. The company reluctantly sifts through resumes to find the few that will take the least training to be acceptable for their purposes, and will have to waste time training, and then be left wondering if this person is going to split when the thing he really wants comes along.
And now you come along, and give them the chance to avoid all this initial pain. You are the Gift. You have to get that.
As to the startup, it is a tough road to travel, but can have great upsides as well. But here's the thing, you can bring a startup mentality to your job (I've heard it called Entreployee and Intrapreneur), and create unlimited pathways to growth within a job.
The other benefit of having a job is making your mistakes on someone else's dime, and having colleagues who can support you. A mentor is a fine thing to have, and you might be better able to find and interact with one when you work for someone else.
As I think about it, you might even want to choose your job based on the mentor-ship and community that will be available. This is the community that will be yours for the rest of your career; so you might as well start with the best. They say that a big chunk of Silicon Valley came out of the startup that was PayPal.
That said, a master's might also make sense. But again, why do it on your own dime? Why not find a job in the Philly area doing the work you love, and have your employer sponsor your master's. I don't know how viable this is, but it could be a good fit if you can balance the demands of the two. You could do your research in an area with direct applicability to your work. But even to this, you could bring the Intrapreneur mindset. Get on a project with your adviser that will feed into the network I suggest below. Then take it with you.
What's clear, to me at least, is that you should not wait for job openings to apply to the companies that interest you. You should get clear on your unique value proposition, and let them know you are available. You should also talk to as many people in these companies as you can, after you've done as much research as you can, and get their pain points, and what you could do to alleviate them.
If you do it right, you could even make a business of being the connector in your industry as you start to go deep in these companies. For instance, as you are talking to one and get his pain, you might be talking to another and get his solution. Then you start the Spatial Analysis newsletter to share ideas. You get on their radar every two weeks with another interesting article (it doesn't have to be one you wrote), you let them know you are there to field their questions and find answers, and you become the go to guy in the field. You bring on a few other experts to contribute, and soon you are the Huffington Post of Spatial Analysis, bringing in the planning people, the equipment people, the software people, the other disciplines that integrate with yours.
It's just an idea. Right now, it looks like you are coming from a conversation of scarcity, when there is an abundance of possibility around you. I've written about it elsewhere, and it's not my idea anyway, but your path forward would be well served if you become an idea machine. See my friend James Altucher for more on this. And you don't have to buy his stuff to get a ton of value. I particularly love his weekly podcast.
So I don't know folks at . . . . The fact that I know anyone close to this industry is a fluke, but hey, there are a lot of flukes out there, and if you just reach out a little more, you'll probably find you are connected in many more ways than you could imagine.
And if you are ready to go to work on this now, I invite you to:
Everyday I dread going into work. How do I politely quit my job?
It's no longer satisfying to me. I cannot support a product that does not work and deal with situations from end users that could have been avoided if only the development team put in more work. I don't want my team to be left hanging though as they are short on people as it is. Suggestions?
Here's the thing. You're saying this to us, not your boss. You don't know how much some bosses want to know what the hell is going on if someone would just tell them.
Let your boss know how it is for you and what you see. People pay consultants big fees to come into companies just to ask you and then tell your boss.
So I suggest you take on The Rich Employee mindset (it's a great book by the way, and all of a buck on kindle so folks don't have to think too much about buying it).
So I'd let your boss know, and offer to help him get it sorted out. Maybe he's looking for someone just like you to light a match under the proverbial butt of the development team. Tell him in no uncertain terms you are willing to be that person. If you just suggest it, he might start looking for someone else and not consider you for the job.
And if your boss isn't interested, why should you have any interest in staying.
You have a choice here, “Either get busy living, or get busy dying.” You seem to be doing the latter. I think the former is more fun.