Midlife career change: Being singled out can be a good thing for your career, but not always.Being singled out can be a good thing. You could be “Manager of the year” or “Leader of the million-dollar sales club.”
But suppose you’re treated…well, differently, in another way.
Susan was newly hired by the Marketing department. For some reason, the dean placed her in an office in the economics department – far away from her colleagues. She made great friends in the economics department but she never got close to her own colleagues. Eventually she left for another position.
Jerome was transferred into a position with vague requirements and no job description. On the one hand, he was happy to have a job at all. Many of this colleagues were let go. But he wondered why the company refused to recognize his position.
Tom was the only person in his group who was not invited to a party honoring his new boss. Whoever organized the surprise party conveniently left his name off the list. Naturally, Tom’s new boss didn’t realize that Tom hadn’t been invited and didn’t know about the party.
What did these 3 people have in common?
They were marked as outsiders. They were mavericks. Their colleagues and bosses had mixed feelings. They were too valuable to fire. But they didn’t fit in closely enough to be welcomed.
How does this happen?
Susan was hired because the university urgently needed someone to fill that position or they’d lose the line. The job market was tight. The university hoped she’d stay till they could replace her and then voluntarily walk away.
Jerome’s original position was phased out. The company didn’t want to fire him outright. He was over fifty and well liked by his colleagues. They hoped he’d stick around just long enough to find a new job, in or out of the company, and move on.
Tom’s colleagues resented him. He was fairly new and had been brought in with a lot of fanfare and high expectations. Without support from senior management, and without highly developed Emotional Intelligence skills, Tom won’t be around long.
What can you do?
Your first step is to use your networking within the company. Develop allies and supporters. Make sure your contributions can be traced to the bottom line.
If you can’t do those things, or if you just don’t fit the culture, there’s not much you can do. Focus on remaining calm and keeping your game face while you implement an exit strategy. You might have a look at my Udemy course, 10 Things To Do If You REALLY Hate Your Job. You’ll get a discount when you click through that link.