The Enemy Is You: Remaining Flexible in a Changing Workplace

#nomakeup lol

I look so gooooood toniiiiight.


This week something strange happened at work. Well, I could say that every week for the past 60 weeks actually. I’ll be doing a play-by-play of my current job in a separate post, but so far this year:

  • We got a new CEO in January.
  • My boss quit in May. (She leaves for my new CEO’s old job. You can’t make this stuff up.)
  • The CEO halted the web project I’ve been overseeing in July.
  • I met my new boss this past Monday.
  • Oh. And I awkwardly began supervising my work BFF, who is definitely no longer my BFF.

Somehow this week I attend a demo for a web platform, although the web project is on hold. Overseen by a director who is not in IT or communications. This comes as a surprise to me (at least I’m invited to the demo), but the bigger surprise is that after walking out of this demo, I realize I’m digging my heels in against this whole idea. Not because it’s a bad idea (it is), but because it’s not the idea I’ve been working so hard on over the last 18 months.

This new thing is not the strategy and IA we already documented and got approved by my boss, the CIO and the core team. Well actually it is the same strategy–it’s just on a platform that’s the association version of a Wix-meets-Facebook. (Props if you have ever worked for a boss that wants to recreate Facebook for demographic X.) I’m against it because it’s not familiar or what I know or believe. I have become the very person I’ve been railing against the last 15 years of my career. The person who can’t conceive of anything other than what she already knows, the person who is afraid to step into the unknown, the person who bristles against the winds of change. I was hot with shame. But, being an open book, I admit this to my new boss the very next day. She says, “At least you recognize it. That’s a gift!”

The point is, I’m tethered to what we had fleshed out before this new CEO arrived. This week I realize I’m totally biased against anything that isn’t that, (or is kind of that but housed in a clusterfuck of a CMS). In essence, I became my own worst enemy.

A new leader definitely means a new vision, and I’m kicking myself for not having enough foresight to have seen this coming, especially because I pride myself on being able to visualize things other people can’t. Over the last few months I unconsciously fell into the trap I spend my career digging other people out of. But I’m looking forward to disentangling myself with eyes wide open.

The same problems still remain at work: there is no staff to create content, there are no web editors, there is no style guide, there is no customer database, there is no business prop, etc. But does that mean the new website has only one possible outcome? Definitely not.

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