I burned the midnight oil, I helped my colleagues finish their work in time, I fetched and carried for my boss, I made his presentations, his spreadsheets, his reports but my colleague got promoted.
I thought I was indispensable. My colleague did not work as hard as me, and in my opinion he was an ass-licker of the first order. Just because he had the gift of the gab, had better polish, came from, arguably, a better institute and was an apple polisher, he got the promotion.
What happened? What was the problem? Do I need to be a flatterer as well? Was the culture of the organisation incompatible? Is there something wrong in me! Do I need to change myself? I did a lot of agonizing and came to some conclusions.
As I look back on my life I realize that life is unfair. Sometimes I have the luck and the advantage, sometimes some one else does. Sometimes I get what I want, sometimes I don’t. So I need to shrug my shoulders and move on else I will be stuck in that time warp.
Does it mean I should get kicked on every time? I don’t think so. I think I need to learn my lesson and ensure that the next time this does not happen. I need to control what I can control.
What can I control? I can control my response to this adversity. Easier said than done, when the unfairness is hurting and I want to lash back and kill my colleague and my boss in no particular order. However, the realisation that I can control something is the first step towards control but I know the road is long and hard.
While I figure out my long term plan towards self control, what are the lessons learnt from being passed over?
I need to handle my boss. With this particular incident, I need to understand what it was that I did right, and what was it that I did wrong, in his eyes. Even if I do not agree to his (il)logic, I should seek to understand how his mind functions. This will help me modify and/or advertise the appropriate behavior. Would that be ethical? Does it sound manipulative? Ethics is easy. If I think it is unethical, I should desist. Manipulation – that is easy too, for me. If I get my objective, I think it is justified. At the end of it, he will know your mind and be careful.
Should I undercut my erstwhile colleague? If I now report to him, too bad. It is a long and arduous battle to prove his incompetence. Maybe it is better to have a long chat with him, speak your mind and ask him the way forward. Maybe not. He might not take it the right way. Maybe when the time is right. In all, the best strategy is to make him to realise my worth, say over the next 3 months, and at the same time prepare plan B – another boss in the same or different organisation.
Although the appraisal process talks about my KRA and the resultant KPIs, they are company oriented. I need a separate set of KRA and KPI with my boss. I need to know my boss’s expectations and his measures of evaluating performance. If it is subjective, so be it. It is his yardstick and I cannot change that.
Should I talk to HR? If I feel strongly, I should register a protest. Bit typically hr is busy with process and if not handled sensitively, this can backfire.
Should I be negative and show my disapproval in obvious ways. It will make me feel good. It may make the other persons feel bad. The end result would be a spiral of negativity when they will lash back and the whole relationship will go downhill. Ultimately everyone, including the organisation suffers.
am I doing the right thing?