Thursday, August 12, 2010

At Work, My Department Status Is Under Siege (aka Delusional Paranoid Theory No. 24)

Back from a bit of a hiatus.

I work in the operations department at my company, and I've quickly become essentially the next line to the supervisor.  I think of it as a testament to my dedication and aptitude.  However, we have expanded the team lately, which is never bad.  I knew I could potentially help some of the guys along with my experience and ideas, and I was making my presence more known at work through my efforts and questions about how other teams functioned.

Then came the rise of one of our new team members.  There is one colleague who has shown a strong work ethic himself and has caught on quicker than anyone else before him, myself included.  Part of it is because there are now certain responsibilities that he can handle which takes the load off the rest of us.  That's easy to understand.  However, his rise has been fast enough that he's now done more training of the newest team members, and taken the lead on a share of our tools for this major launch.  It is as if he is seen as more of a lead on this project than I am, rather than just an equal.  Even the director asked him for help one day over me when it's usually one me.

I will admit that this coworker is doing a heck of a job since coming in, as he is articulate, dedicated, and has shown a lot of ability while keeping a laid-back attitude for the most part.  He's truly done a heck of a job.

Yet I resent that so much.

I'm a person who likes his territory, much like other Aspies get used to theirs and hate when things are changing against what they are used to, though it's more the case of sudden change than gradual.  I am okay with him being seen as an equal in the informal hierarchy as he deserves it, but I am not comfortable with someone overtaking my place in the hierarchy and I'm struggling to make the teamwork thing happen as efficiently as possible because I see myself as being threatened even more than I am seeing his own abilities complimenting mine.  Even I'm an optimist, and I don't see this as a reflection on the quality of work he shows; I see this as an indictment of the quality of work I don't.

I have not said this to him or other team members, as he's a good worker, not to mention a great drinking buddy (haha).  I'm not trying to sabotage the team dynamic because of my fragile ego.  However, my supervisors have caught on to me being a little more overzealous with ideas than I have been even in the past.  They are aware of my AS (coming out is a different topic for a different day).  They are aware that I do not want to compete with him for the attention of all teams involved in our projects, as I asked to talk with each of them and they showed the same concern about how pushy I'd be on occasion with getting ideas out.

My coworker doesn't demand anyone with tasks even when he is leading one of the units (I lead the other), and he and I have been collaborative, which is a start.  The hard part for me is telling myself that this isn't a personal slight.  I have never been called out on my work ethic or performance, which the supervisors make it a point to remind me, so I shouldn't feel paranoid.  They are trying to do what is best for our team, but I also want to do what is best for me.  I'm not uncomfortable right now, as they do see him as an equal now, but I start wondering if maybe I'm bugged about being seen as inferior to him with his rapid ascension leaving me in the shadows.  Things change where I work so fast that I can't always get a grasp on where I will fit in and how quickly I can adapt.  Everyone in the department (not just our team) knows I do good work.

If only I understood workplace dynamics better.  No young kid, especially one with social deficiencies, wants to find his career hit a crossroads before it can really get started.  So now I find out how I can adapt to the new situations at work.  I still like my job, and I like everyone on the team including this guy.  I guess I'm just way too insecure about my position because they're splitting up what was my cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment