July 23, 2013

Working with Non-professional Organizations

Working with non-professional organizations can be quite draining for any professional employee. So what are the typical symptoms that indicate that you are working in a non-professional organization?

How to Ascertain You are in a Non-professional Organization

Here are some examples, which if they are happening, would strongly indicate you are working in a non-professional organization.
  • The top man has cultivated a select few as a part of the management team. All key decisions are made by this cohort and no other professional is allowed to join this group of "old boys club".
  • Any senior professional hired from outside to manage an area is given full accountability but limited authority. In fact, the senior professional is made to report into the top man through someone in the cohort.
  • The cohort is like a gang of old friends who are on back slapping terms with each other. The senior professional is belittled and humiliated by the top man by sending emails meant for the senior professional through the one in the cohort she reports into.
  • The cohort goes out for lunch together and hardly mingles with the other employees. This old boys club has no interest in informally engaging with employees over the lunch table.
  • The cohort would support each others' decisions and other senior professionals are made to look like fools as the technical decisions they make are overturned or dictated by the top man or one of the cohorts.
  • The top man would not mind telling lies to external stakeholders such as customers or senior executives in the head office and for all you know it might very well be the case that the senior executives might themselves be indulging in such practices.
  • The top man will not care to find out what the senior professional is doing and based on heresy (from the cohort or other lifers in the organization) send emails suggesting changes that may already be in works.
  • There will be many lifers in the organization who would have come to the end of their career growth phase and hence stuck and will never be able to move out since no other company would hire them. More importantly, these lifers will have huge bloated egos, unprofessional behavior and bad attitudes.
  • The organization will tell lies to customers so that invoicing can continue. Ethics will be a low priority though the organization will have a nice, shiny handbook on "values". Actions by the top man and cohorts will be in utter disregard of the values with no one objecting to it.
  • The top man will talk about future strategy, improvements, employee welfare, et al in passionate terms with no appropriate actions to back that up. Initiatives will be launched without due consideration to what really matters.
  • The cohorts will be "yes sir" men of the top man. The top man decides this way and the answer from the cohorts will be "yes sir, this very way" even if it means taking an untruthful stand or unethical action.
  • The moral compass in the discussions of the top man and his cohorts and their discussions with others will be missing altogether. Getting things somehow will always override doing the right thing.
What to Do if You are Stuck in a Non-professional Organization
If you are stuck in such a situation and especially if you are a senior professional what should you do? The answer is simple - quit and move on, as soon as you can. Here are some reasons why moving on is so necessary:
  • You will never grow beyond a certain level
  • You will have to start indulging in lies and unethical practices yourself
  • You will always be made to have a sense of being a second class citizen as compared to the top man and his cohorts and the lifers
  • You will be humiliated, belittled, devalued time and again
  • Your decisions and suggestions will be rejected and overturned
  • You will not be involved in discussions and decisions which you would normally be a part of in a professional organization
  • You will have the follow the top man's line with no option of being allowed to express your point of view
  • You will get a mail or call from the cohort or the top man himself threatening or intimidating you for something
  • You will be shown your true place time and again
Thus quitting and moving on is important so that you maintain your professional competence, maintain your professional ethics, maintain your personal dignity and above all ensure career growth. 

So get going now, and move on quickly. Time may be running out for you already. Staying in a non-professional organization that you may have joined by mistake would be committing even a bigger mistake.

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