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#WEverb11 Day 3: Learn

December 3, 2011

#3 Learn

What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

This year, the school of life taught me that a job title without power is worthless and demeaning.

Bear and Robot via Etsy

Have you ever been in a group when you were one of the least experienced person but people want you to be the leader?  Something like that happened to me this year.  I was so excited to be given the opportunity.  I was too busy to stop and think about what was going on in the group.  Eventually, it was brought to my attention that I had been put in charge, yet given zero power.  While the group allowed me to do all the work, they watched over my shoulder and never allowed me to make any decisions.  I was the leader in name only.  I had been set up to fail, given few resources and all the work.

I’m incredibly thankful that someone was actually watching after my best interest and called it to my attention.  I had enough time to take back some control in the situation and stand my ground on issues I cared about.

The lesson I learned and the one I’m passing on to you is this…

Be careful in situations when you are given a title that holds zero decision making power.  Ask yourself why you are being given the title and whether someone else is benefitting or if you actually are.

In 2010, I learned to let go of “senseless modesty”.  Allow me to combine my 2010 lesson with my 2011 one to tell you that I did deserve to have that position, but I was unfair to be put in a position to do work that other people would have been given resources to complete. 

Have you ever been set up to fail?  How did you handle it?


From → Life

  1. I have definitely been in this position. It’s infuriating! The only way you can handle it (at least for my situation) is to control your personal feelings and get the job done, through whatever means are available. Then, move on and hold tight to what you’ve learned. There is way too much office-political nonsense in our fields, IMO.

  2. What I learned, both thru Oprah’s Lifeclass and just thru experience is that you always had the power all along. I also learned that “No” is a every empowering word.

  3. Yeah, I’ve been there, and am there! Still trying to figure out how to get out of handle it. It baffles me that people would even have me do the work I do, only to completely disregard what my observations, opinions, and conclusions are. For my situation, I think it requires switching companies. At least now I know what I don’t want in a job.

  4. I can totally relate! I feel like this is my life on a daily basis. I have found that I sometimes lose confidence in my leadership power because when I don’t make a decision I’m criticized for not being proactive, but when I do make a decision, management decides that my decision isn’t good enough and they get the last word. It is INCREDIBLY frustrating!

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