Thursday, May 31, 2007

The sqeaky wheel gets the oil

Thursday, May 31, 2007

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not in this blog, but I'm one of three black people who work for my company which has over 100 employees. I’m actually real salty about that. This is progress though. There were only two of us for the 18 months that I’ve been here, but we recently hired a black chick from Maryland-Eastern Shore as the accounting something or other. Anyway, this morning a little birdie (read: the other black dude at my company who happens to work in my division) gave me some interesting insider information. In an email he stated that he’s been unhappy for months and that the travel and work load hasn’t been kind to his marriage or relationship with his kids and that he’s accepted another offer with another company and that he’ll be leaving soon. He said that he hadn’t told our director yet and asked me to exercise discretion until he made his formal announcement.

When I read this I was befuddled. I wondered why he gave me a heads up before he telling our boss? We aren’t (or perhaps I should say weren’t) particularly close. We didn’t really work together that often; he’s really barely in the office. Did he have ulterior motives or was he just letting a brother know what was going on? I replied with the obligatory ‘congrats’ and ‘you’re secret is safe with me’. Both statements were sincere. I’m always amazed by what situations God presents me with. I’ve been talking (and blogging) about disliking my current duties, but loving the company and the people with whom I work for weeks now. I felt this was the opportunity to plant a seed. I don’t expect to bear any fruit now, but who knows, my tree may grow later.

Well, I went to my boss after a meeting to discuss how I feel I can play a bigger role in the overall mission of our non profit. I suppose I should explain the nature of our dynamic. I often go to her for advice. Honestly, she’s not the typical manager. I should, however, be clear. She knows what she’s doing. Few people in the world can administer a federal grant the way she can. She’s built a career on her experience as a director of non-profits; she’s more than capable. She’s atypical in that it’s sort of like having your Mom as a boss. Anyway, I explained that I felt all of my talents weren’t being used and that, at times, I lacked things to do during the work day. Basically, I buttered her bread, sweetened her tea, creamed her coffee…whatever you want to call it. I was humble, yet assertive and forward. I came to her for advice, but also had my own secret agenda. I wanted his higher profile, better paying job.

She was impressed. She explained that if there are things that “get me jazzed up”, then I should come to her and let her know I’d like to do them. I’m glad I talked to her. I really do feel like my time and talent is wasted at times. I hate using insider information to my advantage, but hey, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, right?


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