I’m the office manager at my company, where I’ve worked for almost a decade.
During that time we have downsized dramatically. People are always watching what you do and how you do it or questioning whether it should even be done anymore. Even sighs are now evaluated.
After working for the same boss for eight years, I got a new boss last fall, who is half my age. The new boss came in right at review time, and for the first year ever, I did not get a raise or bonus, which especially devastated me because I was given no reason. I was simply told, “You need to improve.” When I asked what I needed to improve, I got the runaround. When I asked if anyone else was going to get raises and bonuses, he said probably not. Turns out that was a lie, since at year end, I was the one who got the packets with the checks attached to hand out, and everyone got a raise and bonus. “Office managers don’t usually get bonuses,” is what I was told when I brought it up to my boss. I was furious!
Since this turnover, I have had to prove myself all over again. I have really good skills that I know would be valued at other companies. But at my age (near 60), I really don’t want to start over again at another place, but sometimes I can’t get up to go to work in a good mood.
I’m hoping you can offer me some words of wisdom and some way to cope. Thanks.
-Burned Up and Burned Out
This must be completely frustrating to go from being autonomous and engaged to feeling like you have to earn your stripes all over again. Not that this makes it any easier, but you’re not the only individual I’ve heard from lately who finds themselves in a similar situation.
With regards to your review, I’m certain you were very clear and direct, and it is difficult to not get an answer and only the runaround. You may have said this, but should the opportunity arise again, here’s the phraseology I would use: “(Name), I am committed to making any behavioral changes necessary to create a healthy working relationship with you and the team, and also earn the right to achieve a bonus. I hope you can appreciate my surprise after consistently receiving positive reviews to hearing that I need to improve and no bonus – especially since this is the first I’ve heard. In the future, if you see anything that is concerning, would you please address it with me immediately? After all, best we correct the situation rather than let it continue. May I specifically ask where I need to improve?” (Runaround).
“I’ve heard what you’ve said, but that doesn’t contain any specific examples for me to understand where I’m falling short in your eyes. Without specific facts, I hope you can appreciate it’s more challenging to know what you’re exactly looking for.” (Runaround).
“Telling me to improve, without an example, leads me to believe this might be a personality issue, rather than a work-related issue. Is this possible?” What you’re trying to do is force him into addressing the true reason.
If possible, play a game with yourself. Become the best actress in the entire world and give them what they want until you create a new, beautiful place. When you’re the actress, rather than get upset or take it personally, simply relish in how you’re fooling them all with your savvy and brains. You know I’m all about honesty and transparency, but you also need to make sure you take care of you during this transition.
Also be certain to journal daily and get it out – plus affirm what you’re creating that is beautiful and possible. Say something incredible and positive to yourself in the mirror daily: “I get better and better in every way every day!” “Everything I need to be successful comes to me with grace and ease.”
Also, take action. Look for a better place, polish up that resume, start networking and connecting. This too shall pass. Hope I’ve helped in some way.