Like most people, I’ve spent the better part of my career working for someone else. By that I mean I’ve had to report to a ‘manager’, ‘supervisor’, or what most people would refer to as a boss.
This ‘bottom-up’ view of organizational life very much informs my opinions and insights on jobs, work, and business management. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of management’s misguided policies and practices, as opposed to the one dishing them out. I’ve seen organizational dysfunction up close too, looking on in frustration as the mediocre parts (and people) of a business dragged it down over time, as opposed its better parts lifting it up.
Much of my career has been spent in the employ of a for-profit business enterprise operating in the private sector. Early on I worked in the sciences—specifically, in pharmaceutical research and development—but since then I’ve done stints in retail sales and other customer-facing jobs. I’ve been a manager too – but only for a short while, and I can’t claim to have been very good at it. (You’d have to ask my former employees for an honest answer to that question, I suppose.)
And through it all I’ve wondered the following:
Why is it that what’s so obvious to those of us at the bottom of the organizational pile is ignored by, or escapes the notice of those perched at the top?
I can’t claim to be an ‘expert’ either…at least not in the traditional sense. I’ve never been to business school, nor do I have any formal training in business theory, management theory, or organizational behavior. And I do not have an MBA.
As a result, any insight that I might have to offer into jobs, work, and management is the result of on-the-job experience, what I’ve learned through the sometimes painful process of trial-and-error, and…well, just paying attention.