Greetings minions! I have much news.
Recently I have stepped into a couple of leadership positions. One with a nonprofit organization and the other one they pay me to do. Was it wise to take on both of these roles within weeks of each other having virtually no prior management experience? Of course not! But alas, this is what I have done.
In one role I’m herding cats…scratch that, cats would be easier to manage. In the other I’m rocking that delicate balance between earn-their-respect and exert-my-power-before-they-walk-all-over-me.
I’d say it’s going well. Having never been the boss before I have no idea if I am going about this the right way. Having been a minion since entering the workforce some twenty years ago I am enjoying the clout. On the one hand I can exact change. Exhibit A: I didn’t like eating my lunch in a back corner next to a mop bucket so today I christened an employee lunch table in an open, bright area. On the other hand the change I exact falls completely on my shoulders. Exhibit B: Since we now have a designated lunch area, I must enforce rules requiring all food in the building be consumed in the designated lunch area (hey, I’m not the CEO, just the assistant manager). Still, I’d like to believe I did something good for employee morale today. Nobody will be eating their lunch in a corner next to a mop bucket in our “break closet” anymore.
I don’t miss being a minion. I’ll take the responsibility if it means my ideas are heard and my efforts count for something. Being the boss comes with some cool perks. You tell people to do something and they do it. You make the call to send home the employee that came to work with the plague instead of avoid them all day and chug vitamin C. When someone doesn’t get the answer they want and asks to speak to the manager, you get the satisfaction of informing them it’s you and watching them choke on their sense of self-righteousness.
The most frustrating part has been the lack of training. Both organizations oozed about their in-depth training programs. So far they have both thrown me to the wolves without even a day of orientation. Truth be told I find my new positions unfulfilling and overtly frustrating. It is incredibly difficult to chair a board whose members refuse to be in the same room together and retail is not exactly my passion. But I am learning some great skills and intend to stick it out!
Why do this to myself? I already had a job that paid well, oversaw no one, and allowed me all of the schedule flexibility my little heart craved.
I’ll tell you, I did it for the doors.
I’m looking for doors of opportunity to open for me. I have lost count of the number of interviews I have attended where I was told “we love you, you are one of our top candidates, but nothing on your resume tells us you have management experience and part of this position requires that.” Thus, I have endured one slammed door after another. Opportunities I was passionate about that would have been a terrific fit, lost forever.
Those doors are why I am currently working two jobs (I didn’t leave Company X, they have great opportunities for advancement for those with management experience) and giving what free time I have left to chair a pro bono effort. In some ways it feels like I have put my life on hold and in others I feel like an arrow being pulled back just before it is set free to soar.
Now it’s the toughing it out and waiting. Those doors will open, and when they do, I will be ready.