Thursday, October 1, 2009

There's a payoff, it's just not the one you were trained for

I'm pretty sure I could have more salary, status, responsibility and corporate influence than I do right now. In fact, there's a few moments... without naming any names... when I saw a vote of non-confidence brought on by my "sticking up" for the kinds of things I talk about on this blog. These moments came with pretty clear reductions in my role in the organization. Nothing formal, mind you. That's not how bureaucrats do things. Rather, it's done in the re-routing, the bypassing or the reassignment.

I can't say I was surprised by these results. I'm in a pretty conservative, status quo-driven sort of organization and I'm very vocally not playing the urgency game that's on tap. What I try and bring to my organization can, through a certain lense, be seen as unhelpful.

When I first started down this path, I thought I was beginning a story that would end with me being warned to change my ways or lose my job. That fear has long since past. This role I've chosen won't put me out of a job. It puts me on the outside of the things that used to confirm my value in the organization. Even though I can rationalize that those aren't the things I want, it still stings. I was trained to pursue such rewards, after all.

When I take a moment to reflect, I'm reminded that my behaviour choices have improved the quality of my life and the lives of my family. There's likely too many benefits to truly list, but suffice to say I'm happier, more content and I'm devoting more time to my wife and kids.

I think there's a bigger picture payoff, too. I'm participating in (and sometimes forcing) a conversation about how and why we do things and about the imperative to change. It certainly doesn't provide the kind of gratification we're used to, but I'm energized by the pursuit. That's a pretty good benefit.

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