Benjamin is finding it tough to come to terms with his workplace and expectations from the job. He is now into his 10th month handling public relations for a large chemical manufacturer and is getting overwhelmed by the pace and volume of initiatives he is now managing. In a competitive environment, the internal and external expectations from stakeholders continue to rise. He is asked to do more and with less time on hand. While he has a clear job description that spells out what he is expected to do and his performance goals are aligned and set he isn’t able to comprehend why his contribution to the role isn’t enough. Benjamin reaches out to his mentor Derrick to get some guidance. Here is how their conversation goes. Reflect on what the issues are and what can Benjamin do to take stock of his work and life.
Benjamin: “Hi Derrick! How is your new assignment? I wanted to chat with you about something that is bothering me. Can you spare time?”
Derrick: “All well. The new project is exciting and I am looking forward to learning and adding value to the business. You wanted to speak about your work. What is it? I am happy to help.”
Benjamin: “I am now in my 10th month at work. Although this is the kind of job I like somehow I am unable to keep pace. There is just so much to do and I am unable to cope.”
Derrick: “Oh, that isn’t a good spot to be in. What makes you feel you aren’t able to keep up?”
Benjamin: “I am responsible for public relations for my company and as you know there are a series of mergers and acquisitions taking place involving us. It means my role has kind of stretched from the original plan of just keeping up the ante with public relations. I now need to be engaging other companies, aligning our plans, gaining commitment, seeking approvals from more people, linking our internal teams, playing advocate for branding and so much more! I am doing what is expected of me.”
Derrick: “I see. How do you go about doing all that?”
Benjamin: “The usual way. Coming in each day and then hoping I can get the work list by the end of the day. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t”
Derrick: “Does it help?”
Benjamin: “Not always. I find myself catching up with work and it doesn’t make me feel good to be reminded constantly by my manager about pending stuff”.
Derrick: “Ya, I can relate to that. Have you had a chat with your manager?”
Benjamin: “I have and have got guidance on how I need to prioritize, keep her posted and move initiatives myself. The expectations are always higher than I can fathom. And I also expected to come up with creative ways of growing our partnership and improving relationships with stakeholders”.
Derrick: “Have you heard out your stakeholders? Do they have any expectations of you?”
Benjamin: Well, I haven’t asked them directly but at times I hear from them. But what concerns me is that others in the department are doing less and getting away with it”
Derrick: “Hmm. Why do you believe they are getting away with doing little? How does it impact you?”
Benjamin: “Just saying actually. I shouldn’t be bothered I know….but (his voice trailing off)….”
Derrick: “Do you know what is expected of you and what ‘more’ is expected beyond what you do?”
Benjamin: “What? More than what I do? This is stressful already. What does it mean to do more? I feel the world is conspiring against me. I am doing so much and no one sees the value of it. And you expect me to do more than this? Especially, when others are doing less and getting by, what is the use of doing more?”
Derrick: “Look Benjamin. I can see that you are upset about how the work environment is and how you perceive the world around you. However, this isn’t about others. Nor is it about managing impressions of how others perceive you. It is about you. As a friend, I encourage you to reflect on what you can do to get better within the constraints and then let us have another chat. Does it work?”
Benjamin: “Ok, Derrick. Let me mull over it.”
Derrick watches Benjamin head back to his workstation and wonders what he can do to help his friend overcome this situation. He is at a loss as he feels he hasn’t done enough to convince Benjamin.
· What do you feel is the issue at hand?
· What are your recommendations?
· How can Benjamin turn around without losing motivation?
I am interested to hear what you feel. Please share your views here.