It’s been just over 3 hours since I got some news about work, which has left me even more confused than before.
Good news first – there has been a project win and my manager would like me to wrap up my current project at the end of this week and start on the new project from next week. It’s good news because the new project is consulting to a high profile client on a top secret project, and it’s a good string to my bow. It also gets me away from the frustrations and, in large part, resentment that have been building up on my current project for quite some time.
The bad news is that whilst trying to reassure me that my work on my current project has been seen in a good light, and as a result I was to be given a new title to reflect the good hard work, my manager also left me in tears of frustration when he proudly presented me with my new title – Project Officer. Pardon the language, but what the fuck does that title mean?
Here’s what else went with the "presentation". My manager said that I was the first person to be given this new title, and that it’s a newly created title to "reflect more closely what our division does". So I should be flattered?? No. Here’s how I see it. A newly created title means the waters are uncharted – there are no other test cases we can measure what level of goodwill and perceived respect I will get from being called a Project Officer. Everyone else in the company, and me most of all, will be wondering what a Project Officer does. When asked the question, how the hell am I suppose to answer – will "I don’t fucking know" cut it?
OK, all right, so the above is a short-sighted view of this new title and job description. I could view it as an opportunity to become the yardstick by which every other Project Officer will have to measure up to – as a newly created position, I could mould it to suit my needs, and help to develop the competencies and performance evaluation criteria. I could be the trailblazer, the trendsetter, the foundation by which the company hires future Project Officers.
But I don’t want to be a trailblazer. I don’t want to be the groundbreaking test case. I just want to be treated like everyone else.
Why does "our division" need to be different to the rest of the company? And if I’m getting a new title, will everyone else in the division be getting new titles too, to "reflect more closely what our division does"? And if not, then why am I getting a new title? I’m not that special – I’m a worker bee and don’t want to stand out from everyone else – I just want the damn title that I have worked my ring off to attain – just make me an Assistant Project Manager, damn you!
There are other stigmas to the whole "being given a unique title to the rest of the crowd". It screams "we don’t know what to do with her – we can’t fire her because she’s done nothing wrong, we won’t promote her for whatever reason – so we’ll just give her a made-up title that sounds slightly important to shut her up".
After a long pause, I told my manager that I don’t care what he calls me. If he needs to give me a title, then fine, whatever he wants to put on the business card is fine by me. A title is just a title – at the end of the day, they’re just empty words. I really don’t give a crap. Call me Queen of the World if he wants to. I’m here to work and do a good job, and I don’t need a title to do that.
There were further exchanges – my manager said that the new title has a new set of competencies and responsbilities, and the new title is a promotion, and they’ll have to switch me to a new employment contract, blah blah blah. Whatever. He lost me at "new title".
I think he guessed I had more pieces of mind to give, and with a bit of gentle prodding, I unleashed. I told him that I would prefer it if there was a bit more consistency with the hierarchy. For instance, our division just hired a person for the Melbourne operations, who has the same background as me (different industry experience but same skill set) yet she was hired as an Assistant Project Manager. If I was to take on this new title, would she also be given the same new title, or would she stay as an Assistant Project Manager? My manager didn’t have an answer to that.
So I went on. I told my manager that I had had discussions with our General Manager, who told me in our meeting at the beginning of May that she was using my performances as her benchmark to evaluate the performances of other Assistant Project Managers in our division, and that as far as she was concerned, I was an APM in all but title. So, if that was the case, why was I being given this new non-title and not being promoted to an APM? My manager didn’t have an answer to that either.
What I didn’t have the heart to tell my manager was that our General Manager had all but promised me a promotion to Assistant Project Manager the minute I came off my current project. In fact, I didn’t have the heart to tell him anything else – he seemed a bit upset by the fact that I wasn’t jumping up and down with joy and gratitude with my "newly created job title".
Carefully, my manager said that because there has not been much visibility over my performances on my current project, and based on the fact that I told him last week I felt like I was being underused (to the point of being the most highly paid office junior in history), he wasn’t able to just willy nilly promote me to the position that, in my opinion, is long overdue. However, he would have a chat with our General Manager to get a better understand of what was discussed between her and me at our early May meeting.
Here’s the fun bit – it was implied that because of my under utilisation, I have really been nothing more than an admin assistant on my current project, so I should be happy with being called something else other than Office Pleb.
I don’t honestly know why I bother any more. I know I gave an undertaking to my General Manager that I would hold on and hold out for brighter and better things, and not look for other opportunities until at least July, but right now, all I can think is "fuck the grace period – just look for another job and screw this lot".
My manager told me he’d get back to within the week to confirm the details of the new project and provide me with a definitive answer on the job title. Here’s a clue – just give me the fucking title I want, and I’ll stop my whining and get on with it.
The games continue. I’m over it.
Updated 29/05/2007 @ 4.35pm
Just got off the phone to my manager. He’s had a chat with our General Manager, and guess what? She takes it back. All of it. And it seems I must have misunderstood what she said in our coffee meeting.
My manager wants to have a face to face chat. Whatever. Like I’ve said before, I’m over it.
The search for a new job begins in earnest tomorrow.