About twelve minutes before I left for the airport, my manager (no, not Captain Kangaroo, unless CK was a six-foot-five former basketball player) reviewed some of the main objectives for my trip overseas. Fair enough.
Then, he dropped a grenade — problem was, I couldn’t tell if he had removed the pin or not: “So, I hear you may be leaving us this summer…”
Being a relatively new employee here, conversations regarding my future development have often been met not with reluctance, but a “wait a little longer” approach. I’m sure I made some kind of triumphant entry when, only three months into my new position, I asked for a two-year leave of absence to go back to school (Ignorant? No, proactive!). So I was obviously a little concerned that my little secret, now out in the open to the person who could squash me like Robot Jox bug, would be taken as an act of corporate betrayal.
Instead, our conversation was focused around the people that such information should be given to [and I tried to end that thought without a preposition; mulligan, please] and to keep him posted. This morning, a second conversation affirmed that: he wanted to know about my ten-year plan; I said, in no short terms, “not engineering”, and he proceeded to describe some of the antics his social-venture-laden next door neighbor participated in. No unequivocal support, no condemnation, just…“It’s good to know what you want to do.”
Oh, and I got a raise.
There’s something liberating about this kind of communication, and I think my opinion of said manager has slowly changed from “status unknown” to “a guy I’d have a beer with if he offered”. It’s tough being in leadership, because often your employees, subordinates, whatever — their interests may not line up with the company’s, and a leader must be held accountable to his leadership, so on and so forth…
Regardless, it’s encouraging when you feel empowered, and although I don’t expect anyone at ULAC to jump through hoops to get me to the UN, I’m not being strapped to my lap….top.