Keeping in mind that this blog is intended to show the positive aspects of my life, I’m going to stretch that intention to view “works in progress” as positive. Or, at least on what I hope is a positive path.
Even when I think I’m done growing, I’m not. I have plenty of room to grow, but I occasionally get to plateaus where I feel comfortable and have no pressure to keep moving. I hang around on my happy plateau and call myself done (for now) until something grabs my attention and I take out all the baggage I lug around and reassess what’s going and what’s staying. And this is exactly how it is depicted in my sleep dreams.
This is the time of the year when promotions are given at the company where I work and a few weeks ago, my husband received a well-deserved promotion. Yesterday, I heard of other promotions. All well-deserved. Frankly, we are in a mode where promotions are difficult enough to get that I can’t think of a recent one that wasn’t absolutely deserved. Yet, I cannot help but notice how many promotion cycles have passed by me. As I sort through my baggage on this topic, I find there is much too much to carry to my next plateau and I need to get rid of some of it. It hasn’t been easy and it may take months before I’m ready to rest again.
Here it goes.
When I first started working for the company I was at a level White. I jumped into helping another department with code work and took on quite a lot of responsibilities from that project. After a year, the other department was fighting for me and I was transferred over as one of the core coders for the project. Four years later, I was still a core member of a team that was all one or two levels above me (Yellow and Orange). During one of my meetings with my manager, I came right out and asked for a promotion. I was young and naive and didn’t realize that it didn’t just work that way. While, I’m older, I’m still not quite sure how it works, but I know that it doesn’t happen that way. Times were good for the business and our projects, so it wasn’t too much of a faux paus, but what resulted certainly had a huge impact on me. About a week after I asked for a promotion, my manager’s manager called me into a one on one meeting. Manager B mentioned my request and asked me if I really thought I deserved a promotion. I was startled and hurt, but I said yes and I explained all that I was responsible for and what I’d done over the last four years and how I’d worked with the team and so on. Manager B proceeded to break down every accomplishment I had listed and that I didn’t break down crying during that meeting was a miracle. I did however, go back to my office afterwards and cry. From that moment on, I promised, vowed to myself that I would never, ever put myself in that situation again. I would never, for the rest of my existence, ask for a promotion.
Less than half a year later, I got a promotion. I was glad I got it, but it was tainted. I still held to the promise that I would not ever do that again. Even now, I feel that horrible feeling of self-loathing and tears well up. I have some serious work to do here.
Fast forward to now and 15 years with the company. I’ve been a level Yellow for about 9 years (I took a 1 year break from the company after my 5th year. See a correlation?) In the last few years, people have come and gone and mainly gone and I am back with the same project as when I first started the company. There are three of us now from the same group. One is a level Orange (1 level above me) and the other is a level Red (2 levels above me). Both completely deserve their levels, but since I’ve been back on the original project, others have been promoted all around me. They completely deserve their promotions, so I’m very supportive and happy for their recognition. The problem is that I still struggle with my lack of promotion. This is where things get really tricky. The manager I had for years (not the same as when I first start working, so we’ll call it C). Manager C had some people issues and when other people on our project threatened to leave, C promoted them as an incentive to stay. But they took the promotions and left anyway. Other issues worsened and we got a new manager. None of that has anything to do with me, except if you consider that promotions were given in the order of crisis level. In itself this is unfortunate, because everyone who got a promotion deserved one.
I’m not sure how much I want to go into what I take care of now. It makes me too exhausted to even think about it. The truth of the matter is that I have been hoping for a promotion for a couple of years now. I’ve had two children recently and as the mom, I know that I’m an easy out, but I haven’t missed a beat in schedule or responsibilities. Example, I had a c-section with my daughter, born in September last year. My schedule was never changed for the 8 weeks I was out. I worked overtime before and after my maternity leave to close the gap. The details don’t really matter. What matters to me is that the whole thing bothers me in the first place. It’s worse than my birthday issues. I hope and hope, but it doesn’t happen and I’m unwilling to ask for it.
My husband and I have talked about this many times, too many times. He is my biggest supporter and he wants me to be recognized fairly. I can agree, but I actually don’t want it to bother me. I want to only look to myself for value and approval. I don’t want to want the promotion. I want to get approval from myself that I am doing a good job and no one else. Getting to that point is a journey of work. Just because I say I don’t want to care, doesn’t mean I can stop caring. Last night, I had a dream that people were congratulating me on my promotion, but my manager hadn’t said anything to me. I was doubtful and cautious in the dream and I kept asking people to keep it quiet until I found out for sure. I woke up feeling embarrassed about it. I felt like it was time to put it out on my blog, so I can start leaving this crap behind me.