Quarter Life Crisis Series: Culture

Culture

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I often heard this word in my previous company, and also at graduate school. I neglected this word often, because I never really appreciated its meaning and essence. UNTIL…

 This is officially the first entry to my Quarter Life Crisis series.

I promise not to make it dark and gloomy, since my vibe isn’t like that anymore. Rather, I promise to share my positive thoughts in this journey, to potentially help people under the same circumstances (quarter life) or going through a similar distressful scenario.

When I started with my previous company, I was on cloud 9. It was 2010, and I finished reviewing for the board exams early so I took a leap of faith and signed with this Recruitment Company in Makati.

I was delighted by the fact that I was doing office work, had a career path, and was paid enough.

(When I was reviewing for the medical technology boards, I knew that I was inclined not to pursue that line of work)

 

One of my known gifts was relating with people from all walks of life, and I did that there. I brought joy to operations by being my perky self; I bonded with a lot of groups and they welcomed me with open arms. Indeed, I was happy to be there.

All of that changed when I got promoted upon my regularization. Apparently, I was the first one in the company who got promoted within that “short” period of time. Suddenly, my world changed.

There was great resistance from my co-workers, because they found it unfair that I got promoted ahead of them. And they also did not fall short of expressing these to their managers and oblivious employees. They even went to great heights, just for my promotion to not formally push through. When it did, they filed a case in HR to review the promotion process that my manager accomplished –  they were accusing my manager of being biased and non-objective. It just so happened that my manager was also relatively “new” in the company at that time, having 7 months tenure when he promoted me. He was also the first externally-hired Manager.

People often say that being a high performer is a double-edged sword. You get to succeed faster than others, but there are things that will be sacrificed: In this case, it was “being liked”. It felt so unfair, given that these people who were talking behind my back were the same people who I built a relationship with. My manager wasn’t any help in that time too, since both of us were being attacked. My crazy manager told me who our detractors were and what they were saying.

 

It was a dark episode of my career in my previous company. My motivation severely got diminished. It felt like cloud 9 suddenly became rock-bottom. I thought about resigning every single day. Until some older friends talked some sense into me:

“People in ALL work environments will not be too happy when someone junior gets ahead of them, because it is a reflection of what THEY did not achieve.”

It was a wise and true thought that made me understand my co-workers’ reaction to my success.

Eventually, what I did to get over it was:

  1. Set new and more aggressive goals for myself (shoot me down, but I won’t fall – I am Titanium!)
  2. Gave appreciation to my TRUE friends who weren’t insecure about my success
  3. Aimed for a new and exciting role: Talent Acquisition Training

Eventually, I was able to get the training role and gained career growth there too. I moved back to Operations after some months, now as a Manager. Through my career progression in that company, there are some things I did to get over the pain of betrayal I felt towards my co-workers:

  • I strived to prove them wrong: I worked extra hard to prove myself worthy of the promotions I got
  • Instead of retaliating, I branded myself as “Someone who can help you succeed”. I helped out people who were skilled and wanted to move up the ranks. And I was successful in this
  • I continued being nice. Consistency is Key. When I lost some friends due to my success, the ones I kept became more loyal to me. I also gained more and more friends because they saw that I wasn’t a bad person. This was as easy as breathing to me, because this was who I really am – genuinely interested to know more about people from all walks of life.

Resistance to change is inevitable due to a lot of reasons. People are more inclined to resist a setup that is new to them, and it’s human. WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT, though, is a different story.

Talking cr*p about other people in general is unbecoming. It’s wrong to bring down people, whether they did something or not, especially if they’re not present to defend themselves.

People were raised differently, my friends. And let me re-iterate: RESISTANCE TO CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. People will react out of frustration, fear of the unknown, lack of understanding/appreciation, and it’s because they’re human to. It’s up to us to be the better person and understand them. Take it from me, being the better person always pays off.

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