Tears after work? Seriously?

Today I left work barely holding it together. It wasn’t just one thing that got to me, but a number of things. The last thing – the final straw? A skype message from an employee. ‘if they think that xxxxx can replace you, I mean do your job, take over from you, they are wrong.’

Come on, seriously. How would you feel? When xxxxx sits next to you and was a recent addition by the new boss? I have to question what’s been said to make this employee feel so upset by the idea? Said employee is not known for ‘inventions’ of this nature.

Follow that with a call from the dragon lady and my evening has been ruined. I had red wine for dinner.

I feel guilty too. There are people in Japan with nothing…

More wine please.

Thankfully, my wonderful boyfriend was here, waiting for me when I got home.

Restructuring…again

A couple of weeks ago my company issued its IMS. In the statement we missed our EBITDA contribution by a few percent. In the same announcement we also announced a restructuring charge of between $14-18m. It sent shivers down the spines of all colleagues that have lived through such ‘restructures’ in the past.

On Friday it began.

Mid afternoon the whispers began in the office. The Skype messages went back and forth between colleagues worried for each other. And the rumours about office closures, and numbers of lay-offs spread like wild fire.

Today, I took a phone call asking whether the restructure had happened in our office, that it was rumoured to be happening today.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. I say unfortunately, not because I’m being flippant, but because I’m already mopping up the tears of my team members who are worried, no, distraught at the impending changes and over losing their jobs. I’m in no different position. I face being put ‘at risk’, just like all of them. None of us know. None of us have any clues. It’s the not knowing that is upsetting people. People add one and one and make three.

The atmosphere sucks. It’s oppressive in the office. It’s difficult to concentrate. It’s like waiting for the guillotine to fall.

Yuck.

So, here I sit, not looking forward to tomorrow. But, I’ll get up in the morning. I’ll put my face on and I’ll drive the 40 miles to the office. You never know, I might be home again soon. Then again, maybe it’ll be tomorrow evening before I’m back.

Negativity Bites

I recently had a bout of pneumonia. I was lucky, I got it early and zapped it with 2 x 500mg of Clarithromycin to kill it off. I’ve been back at work for almost two weeks, but I’m shattered. Totally. Zonked. When I was off sick, I was sleeping 16-18 hours a day. Now I’m back to 6-7 if I’m lucky. And it’s taken its toll.

With a new boss on board, the rate of change at work is ah-may-zing… Today however, was just a tad too negative for my liking. Issues, problems, negativity landing on my shoulders and unusually, I’m just too damn tired to deal with any of it. I came home at lunch time to start (& finish) a piece of work for my boss. Now I just can’t remember what, where or why I was doing it in the first place.

Ugh.

Is there a pattern…?

I’ve got a nasty cold. It’s the first of this season. I had the same kind of cold last year, at the same time. BF and I had booked a long weekend, a cabin with a hot tub and had taken champagne away with us. In the car on the way up, I started feeling ill. I was ill the rest of the weekend. The ‘chesty cough’ that went with it never really went away and in February (while the snow was here) I was very very ill again, but I carried on working…and didn’t seem to get rid of the ‘cold’ for months.

Is there a pattern to this?

I tell those that work for me to rest, turn of the Blackberry, ignore the phone and email. If they don’t they won’t get better, right? I’m bad at listening to my own advice, until now.

Friday I wasn’t feeling well, but as we’d had a team dinner in the diary for weeks, I went out. I made it to just before midnight. I’d had a couple of glasses of wine and a couple of cocktails – that was it. Saturday, I didn’t move from my bed. I wasn’t well. Sunday, I got up, went to the cinema, came home and went to bed again. Lightweight.

I’ve been in bed for two days since then, on and off. I’ve been getting up for soup, and to get drinks, but going to bed again when I feel weak and feeble. I’m exhausted, and I shouldn’t be.

I think there’s a pattern to my illness. Can I break it this time by ignoring email, texts, IM and calls from work??

Working hours

I’ve noticed a trend over the past few months – in my team specifically. When 5:30pm comes along, there’s no move to tidy desks, pack bags and put on coats. It’s become the norm to stay at the desk beyond 5:30pm. Most of the team are at the desk before 9:00am. The pressure we all feel from the business to deliver more and more is immense.

It can’t go on.

My worry, as ever, is that people give so much to the business that they become ill, things slip and then they leave because they can’t carry on. The worst fear for me, is actually one of redundancy. Our new CMO started this week and we are all waiting for changes to be announced. I don’t want anyone in my team to be putting  in 120% and giving too much of their personal time to then be faced with ‘your position is no longer needed’. For whatever reason.

Why do we, as professionals, feel the need to give over and above our contracted hours? I’m contracted for 7.5 hrs a day and while I expect a little bit of flexibility to occasionally do 7 hrs (because of a doctor or dentist appointment) I’m finding it more and more incredulous that we’re doing more than 9 hrs a day on a regular basis.

But, does anyone ask us to do this? No. We do it because we feel we have to.

I often ask ‘what would happen if we went home on time’? (As many other people do)? And, I think we’d adjust. The deadlines would be moved to accommodate this, and there’d be less stressed people running around. Well, that’s the theory.

For the past couple of weeks I have been shocked at how much I had under estimated the stress that would be caused by having a new boss on board. Stress in me manifests as health issues and insomnia. I watch and see similar things in my team.

I don’t like it, but feel powerless to do anything other than listen to them, support them where I can and be understanding.

 

Being objective

Staying objective!

There are times when what we do, in both our personal and work lives, that objectivity is some that is difficult to achieve. There have been times recently where the work life has been rather challenging. Today was no exception. I usually pride myself at being rational and objective. But when faced with constant criticism and scathing remarks it’s hard to stay that way.

So, how do people stay objective? I don’t have the answer. Maybe you do?

New excuses

I used to post regularly about the trouble of working with salesmen. Not about the sales chaps themselves but about the vast array of excuses they can dream up…remember the horses escaping? Or the M25 queue? etc. Well, yesterday I got insight into the mind of a salesman…

This particular chap was harping on about the lack of marketing activity, the brand being awful and how he never saw what we’re doing. (All very odd, but evidence that he doesn’t read or view any of our comms).

On his way out of the building I asked if he’d seen the marketing intranet page and all the resources available. He freely admitted he’d seen the pages, but not actually clicked on any tabs or viewed any information. Then he admitted ‘this is great’.

As he was leaving he said to a colelague

‘I have no excuse now, so that’s the point [complaining]?’

My job here is done.

Throwing my toys out

Work has been rather challenging recently.

I lie. That’s an understatement.

We have a particularly ‘challenging’ team of people who oppose all the suggestions, plans and activities that we make, and as a result we get the blame for lack of activity and success. It’s become very tiresome. One of this particular team, let’s call him mosquito #1, called into question my experience as a marketer. Mosquito #2 is very put out that we don’t consult him as he’s ‘the most senior member of my entire department’ (*we’ll come back to that one) and mosquito #3/ Mr Angry is just bitter or so it would seem.

I pride myself on being a reasonable, rational and non-emotional person when it comes to work, but this past few weeks I’ve struggled. Today, I’m throwing my toys out of the pram. I’ve had enough of the 3 mosquitoes and their scheming, back stabbing, unhelpful and tiresome comments.

We’re trying to change the way we market. Trying to use the new techniques, methods and latest technology to market something and change the perception of said ‘something’. Some people are so resistant to change. I don’t understand why.

I have no where to go with the issues. I’ve escalated to the head of said team, to the very top level in marketing, and to HR. It’s now being going on for over a year.  Where to now?

Time to approach the grand fromage himself.

Wish me luck. I’m hoping I can fit the toys back into the pram after today’s little outburst.

(* said mosquito believes he’s got more experience than my entire team…he’s old, but not old enough to be able to live up to that statement. I’ve got 29 people working for me. Something he neither acknowledges nor grasps).

Corporate marketing trends?

I work in the corporate marketing department of a large software company. I’ve been there for over 18 months and in that time have been promoted three times. I’ve seen many changes at the company, including the loss of my boss and her replacement by an ‘interim’. I tell the people that work for me that the only constant is change.

One thing that hasn’t changed in that time is the pressure on corporate marketing to deliver ‘leads’ to the business. The number of leads my team generates is staggering. But, I have to question whether that’s lead generation should be coming from corporate in these volumes.

As a senior marketer, with experience of marketing for many other companies – big and small – I never before saw this volume of leads from a corporate team. In fact, in one company I don’t think we ever saw anything inbound from corporate.

Is this a new trend? When and how did I miss the memo about this?

I’m in the process of changing a lot of the systems and practices we have used to date. The cry from sales for ‘qualified leads’ is falling on corporate marketing and we need to have systems in place to help with the automation of lead management, lead scoring and lead nurturing.

Now, more than ever before, I find myself in need of networking with my peers.

Email rant (again)

I’ve mentioned email being a complete pain on numerous occasions. But today I feel the need for a complete rant. I’m now up to ~300 a day, the bulk of them spam, but the rest are from colleagues asking stupid, piddly little questions that they don’t actually ask me face-to-face or on the phone.

Email can be used to deliver information. It should never be used to ask a question. It should never be used to deliver an action item. And, it should never be used as a method of communication.

Too many ‘dialogues’ take place on email these days. The result of ‘cover your ass’ conversations, perhaps? Or just damn laziness?

I for one wish email was an option, not a mandatory tool for business.

I work in marketing, yet I loathe receiving marketing email.

I find that email hampers my work, so I log out frequently, but when I don’t reply to someone ‘instantly’ I’m not a good corporate citizen. How do we overcome this??

Any suggestions?