Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shiny, Happy People? Absolultley

The stories you are about to read are true. The names and some of the circumstances have been altered slightly.

Gary belongs to my gym.

The moment he sees me, or anyone else for that matter, his face lights up like the Strip in Las Vegas at 3 AM. A smile creeps over his entire face and his eyes dance. He'll wave or shout a strong emphatic "Hello, friend."

Gary is 82 years old and he looks younger than this 61 year old blogger. Oh, there are days he moves slowly. "Arthur," he'll say to anyone who listens. He walks for 30 minutes and then hops in the pool with some of "the older people" for an aquatics class.

I'm sure being active keeps him healthy but I believe it's his attitude, his terminal enthusiasm for life, that keeps him young, alive and full of energy.

So why do I tell you about Gary? It's so I can tell you about Cary.

A few days ago I shot off one of them-there rants on LinkedIn. Someone had suggested in a post that we rid the world of 'bad managers" If that's not bad enough I started getting e-mails asking me if I was in a "soul sucking job."

  I have to tell you that term reminds me of the Death Eaters from the Harry Potter books who, by the way, caused me to have nightmares when I read the books. 

If someone wasn't performing  maybe they weren't suited for the job to begin with or they hadn't been given adequate development and oh yes, there are some really good managers out there.......... I'd worked with them. Righteous indignation was flying every where.

My phone rings

A friend of mine is on the other end and he has a dilemma on his hands. It has to do with his manager, Cary. The company stole him from a competitor. He negotiated 5 weeks of vacation as part of his package.

A few weeks ago everyone made their vacation selections for 2015. In the past, the most senior employee, picked a week, then next in line etc, etc. Cary announced he will pick all 4 of his weeks first and no one else can be on vacation when he is out of the office. He knows this hasn't been past practice but as division manager the policy and procedure manual gives him that latitude. Cary takes all the prime weeks - Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, and Independence Day week.

My client and his co-workers approached him and asked why they couldn't double up, as they had in the past. His answer, "Because I said so. I'm the boss, I make the rules. I don't care what someone else told you!"

The difference between Cary and Gary is the difference between night and day. Gary is happy and Cary isn't. Gary believe in his birth right of  happiness, he believes he's worth working to get it and he hangs around people who live that creed. I have this image of Cary pulling the wings off of flies and laughing.

Bad manager?

Soul sucker?

I still don't believe it. Very unhappy person who believes that his role is to spread his personal brand of misery?


Cary and Gary are as different as night and day.

So I suggested to my friend that he shine a bit-o-sunshine into Cary's life.

Ya never know.