17chipmunks is jobless

Picture source: sodahead.com

It is more than a week since 17chipmunks became jobless. This was a decision made after many considerations. It wasn’t an emotional decision. I was once very passionate with my job and thought it could last at least 10 years. I had my very own reasons on why I left the job.

During this period (even before I became unemployed), I have attended few job interviews. But, I think I failed in most interviews mainly because I have not been truthful to my potential employers on the reason I was living/ left. It was difficult for me to tell a lie – and that I said the wrongful things like “the work is too stressful”.

I ponder and ponder – it seems unprofessional to back stab one’s previous employer in front of a potential employer because it gives the latter the impression that the applicant could back stab the latter in return in the future. But, if an employer is good, why do they afraid of such situation?

I want to make my conscience clear. I wish I could tell my potential employers – I left the publication line not because my company is bad, but I had a bad leadership in the past one year and plus. I was a star performer in the workplace for my first three years, but I think I failed/ did not progress much (if any) in the past one year. I find it difficult to work with a leader that has wrongful work ethics and values.

This is not “personal”. But, I guess the best way for me to get rid of this feeling is to voice it down – so that I can really move on. I don’t want to be stuck by these thoughts day in and day out for the rest of my life.

Some of the bad traits and/or advice that I could see/ was given in/by this leader:

  1. She has low EQ. She comes in with different moods each day; and her mood fluctuations make it difficult for me (and colleagues) to approach her. Sometimes, she comes in the office as if everyone in the office has killed her family members.
  2. She is not able to handle stress. When she gets stressed up, she tends to find ways to release it. And, one of the ways is to having the team in the room and she will find mistakes and “shoot” everyone.
  3. Her inability to interpret our writing has become our writing problem. Even after editing, I (or we) find it difficult to understand what she has edited.
  4. She tends to put words in our interviewees’ mouth – which I really hated it. She tends to re-phrase sentences and they usually get out of meaning. She thinks that she can read the interviewees’ minds, which she really can’t.
  5. She carries too much pride and ego. And, thus, has to be always “right”. It is very difficult to convince such people when there are new ideas.
  6. She wants changes, which is good. But, she herself does not know how to do it.
  7. She does not like to give due credit to my interviewees. And, most of the time, my articles do not carry the photographs of the interviewees. It really make me feel bad, not for myself, but for my interviewees who spent their time going through and answering my questions. And, sometimes with hope that the photographs will be published, as I brought along the photographer.
  8. When she first joined us (after our previous leader appointed her), she said that the team is good and was with all cheers. However, towards the beginning of this year, she said in our face “when I came in, the publication was already bad. Now, it is worse”. So, how genuine is this leader?
  9. She is inconsistent with her editing style. We had a style given by our previous leader, which we kept by our heart. However, she did not like it and tried to change it. When I changed it, she re-changed it to something else.
  10. She humiliated us that we would not be hired by another publication firm if we continue to write the way we do.
  11. She made baseless comparisons. She compared us with a freelance writer, who has got all her time to do her assignments. On the other hand, we, as permanent writers, do not have the freewill and time as the freelance writer. It is really not an apple to apple comparisons.
  12. She is a critic, but does not reflect on herself before criticizing others. She is busy body about other departments in the company, and make all sort of comments; but never reflected on herself – on how to improve on her own.
  13. Her suggestion to improve our writing is to “google” and “copy and paste” the materials into the article – which she actually did when she is editing my articles.
  14. She blindly copied a phrase from another article and pasted it into my article. And, the added information was technical and I wanted to remove it because I find it difficult to explain. And, when explained to her, she said that she is more interested in writing about something interviewees say don’t write because it is confusing people and the challenge is to write a technical matter in a simple way to understand. It is true to a certain extent on what is said, but is being “right” more important than being accurate?
  15. She shouts in her email when she is not happy; and without giving me a chance to explain. For example, I took a phrase from a guideline, which I quoted from. It was word by word as explained by the guideline. And, she did not understand it, and then she shouted in the email “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”
  16. On the first annual appraisal, she did not want to sit in to discuss with me until I approach her.
  17. Because she is very emotional driven, I don’t think she can make rationale and decisive appraisal – but to her own likings.
  18. I suggested to her some ways to improve the team efficiency, which she agreed in the meet up. But, it was never implemented.
  19.  She throws decision making (the importance ones) to us – although she is the leader who should be in charge.
  20. She throws the responsibility to guide interns and trainees to us, even though it was expected out of her. However, I took it as a new endeavour as I could learn the skills of leadership.
  21. She does not give due credit. I remembered writing a cover story and I had to write an editor’s note FOR her. And, she just merely edited few lines and the whole long piece of paragraph was attributed to herself. Also, at times when I shared information with her, she ended up using it as if it is her own information.
  22. The publication’s subscription is deteriorating since she took over (and she claimed that it was already deteriorating even before she came in). Instead of doing something to help the publication survive, I did not see her do anything. In the meanwhile, she is a social activist. I saw her doing more social activist work rather than help the publication survive. And, having said that, I am not totally sure if she taken leave of absence or she uses the office hours to attend social activist activities. This is pure unprofessional.
  23. She does not take the publication as a team work. Instead, she will often use phrases like “because this article carried your BYLINE…..” and so the responsibility is totally ours.
  24. If you have notice, the publication is getting more mistakes month by month. She is efficient in closing the magazine on time, but the efficiency does not mean effective. I feel kind of shame when I see this sort of mistakes month in and month out.
  25. I (or we – my colleagues as well) worked very hard for the publication. We took all the challenge to look for interviewees and come out with the articles. But, she hasn’t appreciated us at all – for the reason (as said by one of my colleagues), she wasn’t appreciated by the management. In my view, when someone does not appreciate you, it does not mean that you can’t appreciate others. In fact, you should know how to appreciate others more.
  26. She is the “stingiest” boss ever, I would say. We never had team year end/ begin year lunch together unlike those years with our previous leader. This is most probably due to the fact that she does not appreciate the team.

Are there enough reasons for me to leave? You can judge it yourself. And, for now, I would not purchase the publication until a new editor takes over.

Just only one thing “good” that she did for me is to help me save some money when I purchased the polar watch for my hubby.

I already had “bad” feelings when the previous leader told me that she was taking over. My previous leader, during our last appraisal, assured me that everything will be alright. In fact, at first I like her (the failed leader) because of her efficiency and we had same kind of interest – which is yoga.

I relented and gave it a year, but this is really too much – especially the very incident on April 12, 2012, which I will never forget for the rest of my life. We were bombarded in the room for two hours. I had an interview at 2pm and had to rush to see my interviewee without having lunch. After the interview, I sat down by the roadside to have my lunch and thought to myself “is this kind of work life I want?” I was really tired and moody –and on my way back home, I nearly drove onto the road divider. There has to be a full stop to this, I told myself.

And, so the letter was handed over to her – and once received, she acted as if nothing happened and expected it to be. From the day the letter was handed up till the last day, I never really spoken to her. We never had farewell lunch, though organised by one colleague. I was given lousy administrative work. This was instead of me transferring my knowledge to the people who will be replacing me. Well, that is what she wanted it to be – make me feel useless. And, so let it be. I am glad it is all over now.

Probably, she needs to be reminded that she is carrying the post, not because she is totally capable of doing so. Instead, she is merely a replacement because there wasn’t a better candidate at that point of time or no one wanted the position. She also needs to be reminded on being grateful to our previous leader who recommended her – instead of seeing our previous leader as a challenge to herself now (she does not like us talking about our previous leader in front of her, I feel).

The challenge remains – will I find a job when I am out of job? How many interviews do I have to go through? When will I get a job? And, what job will it be? Whatever it is, I wish myself a good endeavour. I have planned for myself financially, and I think I could last for some time – I still admire myself for standing up for my own dignity, work ethics and values, and not falling into the hands of bad leadership.

Follow up read: 17chipmunks will be back in the workforce

Follow up read: 17chipmunks was given employment confirmation in 3 months

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