Monday, August 13, 2012

Lulu's Mailbag: burned out and micro-managed

The lament in R's email is probably familiar to some of you.  Oh, how I wish it wasn't:

I feel like my work life has completely consumed my personal life.  I have been working for a large firm (500 + employees) for over two years and workload is unrelenting, unappreciated, and micro managed.  My work load has average 70+ hours, consisting of a  6 or 7 day work week over the course of two years.  My skill set varies from advanced computational design, rendering, and being able to complete several project types of construction documents with minimal oversight.   I've graduated in the past five years and completed several parts of the ARE, but my work load prohibits me from being able to successfully study to gain my professional license.

It's not the unrelenting hours and unappreciated part that upsets me, but being micro managed to the point that I feel completely incompetent in the most menial tasks.  My senior designer is one of those "personalities" that can not consider something complete until his fingerprint has been cemented in every facet of the design.    It  has gotten to the point that normal dialog becomes combative just on the premise of winning the argument, not about right or wrong or even design.  I feel completely helpless and taken advantage of in my current situation.  Is their a way to address this without being too aggressive?  Or is time just to cut and run?

Your question deserves multiple posts, R., but for now my super-short answer to you is to either ask to work for someone else in your company (since it's so large), and if that fails or doesn't seem to be an option, it's time to look elsewhere.  Super-high workload + micromanaging = burnout.  No proper, sane company of ANY KIND, architectural or otherwise, can refute that essential truth of humankind.  The unrelenting hours and lack of appreciation should upset you, though.  If someone has been able to keep you busy for 60 hours a week for 2 years straight, then they had the workload to hire another person.  If they didn't have the cash to hire another person with that kind of workload, then they're shitty businesspeople, and they deserve to lose talent.

As for the micromanaging, there are certain things you can do to try to stem the flow that behavior, but it sounds like you might not care to have that dialogue any more, and with good reason. The reason you feel taken advantage of is because YOU ARE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.  You have no personal life and no way to finish taking the ARE because you spend all your time working. If you like the company otherwise, I would recommend going to HR or whoever is in charge of making the teams and asking to be put on a different teams (and explain why in a professional manner).  If you've tried this with no avail or you're just done, then polish up your resume and start looking.

I would like to address your concerns in some future posts in more depth, but for now, please take care of yourself and keep me posted on how things progress.

All the best,

1 comment:

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