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Thread: Z plan at work

  1. #1
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    Z plan at work

    I just found out that one of the places I work for, well they donít just favour their main tech for shows, Iím not the second person on the list of possible people to book Iím lower (how low who knows). And above me is a tech that I gave them the contact details for. Heís a consummate tech all good but Iím consummate too and I was working there first!

    Iíve been doing odd shows for this company for going on 6 years and in that time theyíve had a revolving door of preferred techs, Iíve never been at the top, and Iíve never fallen off the list completely. I like to tell myself the others are cheaper or faster or better because they can heft staging and truss around as well, but I donít know really what the calculus is.

    I think I do a good job of the actual sound engineering. Sometimes clients mention specifically that Iím great and itís been great working with me. I did have one really bad shift late last year where the boss expected me to get x, y, z done in 3 hours and in 3 and a half hours I had only managed x and y. I donít know why I was so slow that day. I do think in general Iím just not a fast worker, more methodical and slow is my nature, and at 33 years old, I donít really know that I can change this. Itís much worse when Iím trying to do things at home I just really struggle to keep focussed on the task at hand. But mixing live music doesnít require you to be fast like that (it Does require you to be fast in your reactions to what is going on in audio land but I Am fast at that, noticeably more efficient than other techs Iíve seen working....I donít think my boss know enough about sound to be able to see that though, certainly no one gives the slightest care to how peopleís mixes actually sound in my experience, so that, something I am good at, is not valued a the places I work really).

    Itís been really upsetting to learn this, triggering a negative spiral where I think about all the other places where Iím not top of the list (there have been a hecking lot of them over the years). Is this me getting a concussion on the glass ceiling again? Do I just suck? Am I fine at the job but my personality is too esoteric and quirky and people try not to book me because they just donít like my company? I donít think I can improve my standing with this company, if someone doesnít value you they donít value you right? And jumping up and down crying ďWHY DONíT YOU VALUE MEĒ wonít help at all.

    It feels like eating a sh*t sandwich taking the absolute dregs of what work is available, it really really Really does. But I donít exactly have other job options knocking at my door. Pragmatically speaking I must do the jobs I have been booked for to the best of my ability and hope I creep back up the list as I put more and more good shows between me and that set up where I was too slow. Pragmatic thinking does nothing to temper my emotional reaction to the knowledge I am held in disdain.

    Best outcome would be finding work somewhere else that keeps me busy enough that I can be in the same position as my colleague, saying no to their shifts because Iím already booked. Iíve been in this industry for 13 years, heís been in it maybe 5. He was already eclipsing me when we first met and thatís probably 4, 5 years ago. I say again he does a good mix and heís a hard worker. But have also done and been those things, and I do not progress in the same way, and I never know if thatís gender or my work is not up to scratch. I do know though that no one has ever been willing to take me under their wing and mentor me and I get the feeling that does happen to techs who are embraced and employed by hire companies (for all that I have done working in this industry, and I do actually make a comfortable living from being a sound tech, mentoring from more experienced techs is really not something Iíve had access to, there are so many industry standard things I just donít know because most of my skill set has been work it out on the job learnt.)

    Also pragmatic I guess, if there was a way I could ask why I am low on that list of contacts that made it sound like I was trying to do some professional development rather than just petulance, I should ask. Anyone that has a good script for broaching thatís topic I would be very very grateful.

    Thanks for reading this far you rock!

    TLDR: Iím not valued at work and I want to find out why without it sounding like me whining. Also itís upsetting to learn how true that statement is

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    OK.....deep breath and let's do this analytically.

    You work in a competitive industry where multiple techs are in a sense competing for the jobs. Now let's assume that most of these people are roughly equally competent at getting the job done. Some maybe more, some less, but the job will get done. So, focusing on your work quality doesn't give you sufficient competitive edge to make top of the list, it keeps you exactly where you are at - on there and employed steadily but that's about it.

    In these situations, the competitive edge is your human relationships. Literally schmoozing the managers or whoever makes the hiring decisions for the job. This is something that you do control very much and have got to sharpen those skills.

    Look at the tech guy who is eclipsing you. Going to guess that you did not just walk up to him and hand him contact info for that company, right? He came to you, chatting, asking questions, etc. Same thing about mentors - if you want one, you have to reach out to whoever you admire and ask and develop that relationship so you can learn from them. If you want things, you've got to reach out more than what you are doing.

  3. #3
    Gold Member kathy679's Avatar
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    I think in most places its just a case of your face doesnt fit For what ever reason. Could be personality clash or the other person they click with more. Its the same in every establishment . Try to focus on your ability and not those of others and if they dont chose you then try not to take it personally its part of life . There could be other companies that prefer you over the other tech. Maybe you dont have as much experience as that person? Who knows but you could drive yourself mad trying to work it out . Concerntrate on you and bettering yourself. I think this is the most rewarding thing you can do

  4. #4
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    Kudos for recognizing that your friend's rise is not a reflection on yourself. It is his abilities and social interactions that has gotten him booted forward.

    So, you are at a plateau, where you see your career stuck. maybe it is time for a change? Yes!

    It could be that you should explore a different company, look into classes on marketing your skills, and so on.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Are you still struggling with getting to work on time?

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    In my experience, the ones that move up the ladder or obtain more projects / shifts within a company are the ones that get along with and impress their bosses or actual decision-makers the most. In other words, your relationship with the decision-maker(s) in your organisation generally determines what your chances of getting those coveted opportunities are.

    Being a hard-working, knowledgeable individual is not sufficient any more, unless you are a linchpin or your make them tons of money. So, how well do you get along with your bosses? And what qualities does your boss value? Recall the "dot the i's and cross the t's"? Well modify this to: dot the i's and cross the t's according to what decision-makers deem important.

    Examples: Maybe your cursive handwriting is beautiful, but your boss wants you to use print or block script handwriting when filling out forms. Maybe you are the neatest and most detail oriented packer of boxes where labels and tape are perfectly aligned and so on. However, your boss favours mediocre looking boxes that are packed within 5 minutes.

    You are there to make the company money and please the decision-makers (and clients). That's a reality we all face, unless we work independently.

  8. #7
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    These have been the very good questions for perception shifting and introspection (especially Dancingfool pointing out that being able to do the job isn't the thing that gives the competitive edge I needed to read that so badly last night and it was the last thing I saw before going to bed).

    This colleague in particular isn't a great shmoozer, but he does radiate confidence and self assuredness (which I also possess but I doubt I project it like he does) and he rocks up to jobs with a suitcase full of tools and useful things (that is a thing I could imitate, where I personally think it's a bit silly but if it gives employers the impression I'm super on top of everything then it's possibly essential that I start doing that).

    Kathy your comment reminded me that last christmas party the guy who does the crewing was laughing at stories of men who've gone to Thailand, picked up ladies who turn out to be lady boys and then proceed with assaulting them, until chased off by packs of lady boys wielding knifes. As if any of this is funny. I spoke up that time, told him he should check his heart. If common values is beneficial there is one we don't share.

    Sage advice Jim, and my industry is going dark due to social distancing so a good time to dream up new directions.

    Boltnrun you ask the very Very good question. I have been better lately but still not 100%, how quickly I forgot that's a thing I do to my detriment that is also totally in my power to rectify.

    Greendots, I like to think I can make them money by providing good live sound for their events, but if that was enough then I would be in favour. The mission of working out the answers to those questions seems like a good one.

    The more I think about it the more I really would like to get a performance review. I never get them as a contractor but I bet there would be helpful information.

    Thank you all for the thoughts and wisdom, I really appreciate it. Now, to implement things that can level me up...

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Instead of speculating, why not ask your boss what improvements she or he would like to see in order to move you higher on the list?

    Don't defend, just listen. Even if boss' perceptions are wrong, you are more likely to correct them by thanking for any critique and using it constructively. The ask alone raises boss' awareness that you want to improve, and so taking the response without argument gives boss the security that you intend to improve in those areas. This can put you on the radar regardless of whether you 'should have been' there before.

    Perception can be more important than facts when it comes to favoritism from others. So battling with rationality won't do it--so don't do that. Instead, just spotlight your desire to improve your position, and then operate in pleasant and efficient ways to support the view of yourself that you want credited.

    Don't talk yourself into a downward spiral. Raise awareness of your desire to raise your bar, and stay positive regardless of the feedback. If it doesn't land you what you want, work on a Plan B rather than drill yourself into a deeper emotional hole to climb out of.

    Head high.
    Last edited by catfeeder; 03-14-2020 at 12:01 PM.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    A few of my employees are applying for promotions. Most of them have attendance issues such as coming in late frequently or messaging last minute to say they aren't coming in at all. I will not consider them because I need to know I can rely on someone to come in and come in on time.

    Perhaps those who are getting selected over you do not choose to show up late. Being on time needs to be a priority. What is preventing you from being on time?

  11. #10
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    A few of my employees are applying for promotions. Most of them have attendance issues such as coming in late frequently or messaging last minute to say they aren't coming in at all. I will not consider them because I need to know I can rely on someone to come in and come in on time.

    Perhaps those who are getting selected over you do not choose to show up late. Being on time needs to be a priority. What is preventing you from being on time?
    Big YES. Reliability beats all else in the view of most bosses. Every time someone needs to wonder where you are is a chalk mark against you, and the only way to erase it is to be consistently early or at very least on time for the duration of you career. I'd start making that my priority over all else.

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