: the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
Those who know me have heard me go on and on about how big a deal accountability is to me. I believe that everyone has a role to play in life, whether it’s at work, within the community or as a member of a family and when you don’t play your part…when you leave it to others to cover for you or pick up the slack…well, I don’t have much use for you.
For the record, I’m not talking about the occasional slip or crappy moment. I’m talking about consistently not following through, making excuses, and acting as if you had no choice or that the world is out to block you.
And yet, for a brief period in time, I was this person. I’m not proud of it and I seriously cringe and get a twist in my stomach when I replay this episode over in my head.
In my pre-HR days, I was a good worker and I got to thinking that I was a better worker than I probably was just because I had been doing the job for a number of years. Besides, no one had told me otherwise. My boss at the time was all the way in Atlanta – so micro-managing was not a problem for me.
I did my work and I slowly shifted my schedule to accommodate my personal life – nothing crazy or erratic, but outside of what I should have been doing (as per company policy on hours of work…remember this WAS pre-HR days).
Then I got a new manager.
And he wasn’t in Atlanta – he was about 20 metres down the hall.
And after the dust settled, he met the team, and had an opportunity to get a sense of how things had been working, he called me into his office to inform me that apparently he didn’t think I was doing as good a job as I thought I was and, oh, the hours…they need to change to be consistent with the rest of the team.
I was shocked, hurt, and stunned. WTF just happened.
Then I was pissed off. And every one of my co-workers got to hear about it. Anytime I was with someone one-on-one, I would bitch and complain. How dare he say I’m one of the low performers? How dare he suggest that I’m acting like I deserve privileges that others didn’t have? Why did he have it out to get me? I totally worked harder than so-and-so and I did all those extra things too. I was on the social committee, I was on the H&S committee, I suggested ideas, I got along with everyone…
And it didn’t stop at home. I would simmer and over-analyze that conversation over and over again. I would brood. I would get upset.
And then I got tired of listening to myself and shut-up long enough to notice that when I cornered my co-workers to hear me out, they would listen, but never offered support or agreed with me. It hit me that maybe they agreed with my manager. Maybe they had complained about me.
I was mortified.
So, I gave myself a shake and reality check and went to talk to my manager. I owned up to my less than stellar performance – I had become complacent. And I then I explained my reasons for my varied schedule (my husband worked shift-work and we did not use daycare).
It took a awhile for me to prove to both my manager and myself that I was not only good at my job, but that I could be relied on to be accountable for what I did, whether it was going well or not.
What I learned was that just because I thought I was doing a good enough job, well that doesn’t mean everyone else will. And if I felt that I was being treated unfairly, well playing the “poor me” card was not going to win support from my colleagues or get me anywhere.
That situation left me with a scar that will never leave me and for that I’m grateful.
That scar reminds me that yes I have choices when it comes to my life (I could leave after all), but that I need to consider that maybe it’s not my job or my manager or my colleague that need to change…maybe it’s me.