Be Careful What You Wish For
Published: 19 Jan 2016 By Jon Excell
For most of my career I have felt undervalued in one way or another, the root cause for this not being terribly important.
A genuine lack of appreciation for my abilities by my superiors, a culture that doesn’t allow these abilities to shine, mismanagement of my undoubted qualities or just good old fashioned self-delusion. Any, or possibly all of these at some points over my varied career, may well apply.
In fact it could be so simple as mistakenly having an expectation for some outward acknowledgement of my work, rather than automatically assuming everything’s going well apart from when I’m being blamed for something. However, no matter why, the point is that there has always been this small nagging irritation. Please trust me when I say that , rather than getting bitter about it, I have used it as a personal spur to try to improve myself. Instead of getting more and more disillusioned, and thereby straying from my usual response of viewing it all with wry humour, I metaphorically roll up my sleeves and try to earn some kind of approval instead (something undertaken with equal knowing humour).
Things have been rather different since joining Sleepy Hollow. My arrival wasn’t exactly met with liveried pageboys blowing a fanfare on bugles whilst hand maidens spread rose petals at my feet – but I do get the distinct impression they feel lucky to have secured my services. As I sit writing this I still feel a sense of mild surprise, quite possibly with overtones of smugness. However its not the unmitigated positive experience I always thought it could be. I have no problem with the accompanying expectation of my performing at the top of my game, I use this once more to maintain motivation. Incidentally, an adaptation of approach that sees my working as hard as ever I did but deriving a greater satisfaction from it. I don’t mind that I now wield an authority that brings more responsibility, for differing reasons I had this earlier in my career and am glad to once more hold this status within a company. Its just that, when I’m wheeled out to customers primed with a strategy to explain why I should deign to work for my current employer (a fine company in itself and with a good reputation), it feels – well – tawdry. It all seems perfectly sincere but its a very strange sensation. Is this what the pneumatic blondes seen on the arms of withered octogenarian millionaires feel like? Have I become the “trophy engineer?”