I am prompt to write this, because of an incident that has just happened yesterday with regards to a dear subordinate of mine, whose contract has not been renewed due to medical reasons. It reminded me of my own frustrations once too many a time over the years, when it comes to not being recognized for the work that I am doing.
Where did I go wrong? I wonder. It took me years to finally learn how to accept personal responsibility and to understand the rhythm of my own company and how things work. It is a long process that starts with being accountable for your own actions or inactions and ends with a question. How much am I willing to lose to gain?
I would like to believe and deep down I know that I am a dedicated worker who treasures and appreciates her job much. However, I wasn't one who wanted more than I already have and that is when things went downhill. I became dispensable and was only part of a statistic. ( Lesson #1 )
My first blow was when I received my very own termination of contract letter on the 5th year. I was shocked beyond words to know that I am not needed. More than shocked, I was upset and equally angry. After all the hard work, tons of complimentary letters, near perfect performance reviews, the undying loyalty, the blood, sweat and tears, they wanted me out. All because of a 2 weeks long medical leave, due to an injury that I sustained in Japan a few months before contract was due to end. ( I was shopping in Narita, unaware and in my own dream world, when two little boys came scuttling down the escalator and sent me straight down to the depths of despair ). It didn't even matter that for the first 4 1/2 years, I had not taken a single sick leave. I had no one to blame but myself for not seeing it coming.
I decided to appeal, did what was necessary, put my ego aside and instead of lashing out, I sucked it all in and let the anger go. After all, it is a big organization with thousands of workers. Plenty of hiccups and losing oneself in translation. No one up there knows who I am or what I am good at. ( Lesson # 2 ) ~ It was my own fault to have not shown the right people my worth or how far that I am willing to grow with them.
Needless to say, after saying what I had to say when I was given the chance to say it, in front of the right people, my contract was ultimately renewed and I received my spot as a permanent crew. Instead of harbouring ill feelings or taking things lightly, I cherished my job more to the extend that it has now become a way of life. The rule of thumb is, you cannot expect others to invest in you, if you do not, first invest in yourself.
My ( Lesson #3 ) came at the worst timing. When I experienced a failed pregnancy, a week after the loss, I was required to start back online. After unsuccessfully trying to worm my way through it, ( short of manpower and the fact that if a pregnancy is less than 7 months, I wasn't entitle to receive the post delivery leave that would have been ideal for my recovery ), I operated a long trip to LAX and got myself into a bout of depression and a jelly of a womb. I didn't know my rights neither was I aware of my alternatives. It would have helped a great deal had I known people from other departments who might have been able to offer me a word of advise or expertise in handling situations that I am not good at or did not expect.
When I became a Supervisor 9 years ago, my biggest and most challenging task up to date, is to motivate others to give their best during the worst of times. Taking up the post and being in lower management currently, gave me the opportunity to play a few roles that I enjoy performing. As a figurehead on board, a leader, a spokesperson, a liaison officer, a negotiator and an initiator. Technical, conceptual and interpersonal skills came into the picture. It opened up a whole new world for me, to test my potential. I brought it onto myself that no matter what happens to or with the company, I shall do what's necessary to utilize the resources that I have while at the same time, ensuring that the objectives of the company is met without having to sacrifice any joy out of it. You got to love what you do and when you do something out of love, you'll do it whole heartedly.
The only way I can stay positive and current is to continue upgrading myself. Have a mentor or two. To increase your marketability, you got to specialise in something or be so ordinary that you can do what others would never dream of doing. At the same time, keep family members and friends close to you. Spend time with chickens, cluck like them. Fly with the eagles and you will soar like one! Do not expect others to give you a sense of fulfilment neither are you entitled to anything. You reap what you sow. It is as simple as that. There will always be more lessons to learn. The difference is, how you react to it.
The fear of losing my job is lesser now, for I know that I am able to adapt and learn new things if there is a need for it. It is my good health that I am more concerned in maintaining. Expanding one's network out of your own working environment is a great way of getting support, exchanging ideas and gaining knowledge. You got to find your passion and purpose. The only way to do that, is to know who you are and what you want. To be at the top takes great effort and lots of sacrifices. If you are not willing to do that, stay where you are. Where I am at, it is the survival of the fittest.