The endangered middle manager series


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Endangered middle managerIn the big, fat middle – of nowhere!

You are probably well qualified, hard working and smart and you did all those things your parents and your bosses told you to do. You went to the right schools and colleges and got into those prime jobs in the big MNC which were the envy of your friends and neighbors. You were probably set for great things by all reports and yet suddenly, you face an uncertain future.

The corner office looks like Mount Everest and younger competitors are snapping at your heels. You’re anxious days and sleepless nights of juggling career, home, health, money and interests don’t seem to add up. This is a situation you are facing today or will soon enough IF nothing changes. Usually, as most career advisors will tell you, a crisis is a bad place to negotiate yourself in to a better job outside or even inside your organization.

It’s not good enough to do things right today but also to do the right things before things come to a not-so-pretty pass. The world around us is changing so fast so unless we are Rip Van Winkle or living under a rock, we have read or observed this phenomenon closely. Watching companies, technologies, products and services which didn’t exist yesterday suddenly become investor and employee darlings while you, dear Middle Manager, are in a large behemoth organization with more layers than a wedding cake or pancake on a Hollywood celebrity.

If I had a dollar for every middle manager who is looking for a way out the morass that he or she finds himself in, I wouldn’t need to work as hard as I do today! So what are the answers to this? There are no quick fixes unlike what the new-age gurus tell you or the quacks under the tents will have you believe.

The first to my mind is to Recognize that you are there or you are getting there soon – the sooner the better. While this may seem obvious to most at an intellectual level, it’s not as obvious for one’s own situation as we are all lulled by the false sense of complacency by the comforts and power of the current job. It’s business as usual and nothing can shake the feeling of security one feels in being part of something big and market dominant.

Even to recognize the trap, you need to reach outside yourself as the cliché goes ‘you are too close to see’. You can read more about this and next steps you may need to take in future blogs. These don’t stem from a long ago MBA or reading theoretical treatises but from being a practicing manager and ‘accidental’ search consultant for the last 2 decades. So this is a ‘no spin zone’.

We would love to hear your views and comments too so we know what would be useful.

M.Rajagopal
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