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Background:

I have a decent job for someone at entry level, but it is pretty monotonous. There is high turnover and very little upward mobility within the department. The pay grade is not so good for my area, even when my lifestyle is spartan. I have had to get a few part time jobs to make it on my own. I am fully supporting myself, and have been since my parents divorced.

Management is mixed... maybe there was a strong backlash from some kind of micromanagement that has relapsed into unwritten laissez-faire policies? Unfortunately, this job is a breeding ground for complacency and soul sucking back biting office drama. This is discouraging. Especially after 4 years, when I see high performing coworkers not being recognized and under performing employees not being held accountable. This affects our customer base. The good employees get worn down and quit.

I did massive overtime while working two other jobs last year, and the vice president decided to lump me into a group email with a few chronically late coworkers. Out of the blue. I've been late a few times, but only by 2-7 minutes...whereas the other coworker would just be late by 20-65 minutes without reprimand. The other kicker is that he refused to enumerate our statistics, only that it was a grievous error and we should be more accountable. He made it a point to exclude my direct supervisor, which makes these humiliation tactics all the more damning.

For reference, this year he sent out another email demanding that every employee clock in 10 minutes before their shift legally started otherwise he would deem them late and they would be penalized. This is not in the handbook. My supervisors and veteran employees get around this by clocking in and then taking a smoke break until 5 minutes past the shift while I sit in my seat trying to field the calls that come in right away. Even after they come in from the smoke break, they stay in not ready (for the phone lines) while they discuss at length their excellent parenting skills. There is absolutely No Accountability. No reward for being a good employee. Double standards abound here.

Bringing up statistics with my supervisor by requesting that she send me my stats every week so I could compete with myself lead to a somewhat patronizing conversation where she said it was up to my sense of personal integrity and she would not baby sit me or hold me accountable. She then pawned off this conversation to a supervisor in a different state. Not sure how this is supposed to build trust. I was under the impression that asking for something in a neutral way for self improvement purposes does show that you care and does show that you have personal integrity. Maybe I am wrong here?

This sort of thing used to really bother the new me, and whenever I would bring this to management's attention I would get dismissive answers or be told I was being difficult. I was unable to turn off my urges to be a productive worker, but after being "promoted" to a position without being paid more, and being promised other positions only to have them revoked... my desire to respect the employer is steadily waning.

I have recently been congratulated on my improved communication, but I have just given up and gotten complacent. Being complacent does not match up with my self concept, so I try really hard to convince myself I am inherently a complacent person. Unfortunately I have disassociated so hard here. Then I get weird comments about how I should just un-depress myself. Sure. Yep. Totally going to go do that. Thanks. I'm sure that would be very convenient to the other people who are adversely affected by my withdrawn demeanor.

My closest supervisor has told me multiple times that I have trouble communicating, and that I have been socially blacklisted at corporate for my whistle blowing behaviors. Although I trust this supervisor, this has lead to me 'checking out'. I've just been coming to work, doing the bare minimum. There is no incentive to do more, as a fellow coworker was recently yelled at for over achieving. I have not been reprimanded for skipping certain required tasks, neither has anyone else that I know of.

My attempts at moving up the food chain have been met with either resistance or ultimatums that I must move out of state to the corporate headquarters. I visited corporate on a vacation. This was on my own dime and my own terms. It was voluntary. I set up interviews with some key people above my department. This was when I was told I would get a different position more in line with my skills from the head manager. It was phrased as an absolute.

Not minutes after that promise was made, did a lower supervisor drop a bomb on me saying flat out "you will not get that position".

No follow up. No apology from the head manager until it was too late.

This summer I helped with a ground breaking project with a person whom I've heard from others is really hard to work with. (For reference, he is on the Autism spectrum. Very straight forward, logical, and hyper intelligent. I truly enjoy working with him and I know he was not being a jerk, it's just his communication style. I was never made to feel stupid while with him, it was more a self reflective reaction on my part. I must unlearn my social paranoia with him and just trust his statements at face value. He is actually quite clear and articulate.)

I struggled through and persevered, with the false hope that I would be able to continue this exciting and challenging work relationship. The project was presented to me in a way that it seemed pretty long term and promising.

However, when expressing my doubts to my head manager (who was visiting from out of state) about my level of competency, they pulled me abruptly. This would not have been a problem had it not been prefaced with "I will try my best to keep you on board, I'm sure the programmer wants to keep you".

This just seems like another lie.

Question:

How do I broach the subject of the necessity of positive reinforcement with a company that for all intents and purposes seems to treat me like a warm body, without jeopardizing my position? My direct supervisor's response was pretty flat and nihilistic.

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    The good news is, not every job is that bad... find a new one. On the other hand, you would need your boss' cooperation to get something done for your team... and also would need his boss' cooperation to get something done for the department, etc, all the way up to the executive level. – employee-X Oct 22 '18 at 20:01
  • @JoeStrazzere. I take it you find my question unreasonable? If so, that's okay. I've stayed because there are things that I do enjoy... it's just the overarching malaise that makes it hard. Given the amount of times I have applied to things outside the department and been rejected, yes. I have asked for feedback and gotten answers such as "the vice president does not take kindly to the migration of customer service reps to other departments." This is my compromise for staying here. Becoming a flight risk does not appear to be a motivator due to the turn around. – Triangular Colander Oct 22 '18 at 20:14
  • @employee-X. Yes. Cooperation is needed. Red tape is exhausting. It took my direct supervisor over six years to get put on teams they were suited for and excel at, despite repeated demonstrations of above average performance. It's just a company wide thing, unfortunately. – Triangular Colander Oct 22 '18 at 20:16
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    Possible duplicate of How can I tell management I'm bored with my current projects? – Jim G. Oct 23 '18 at 3:18
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    If you re-read your post it's pretty clear you actually want to leave this job. Don't look for a transfer. Look for somewhere else entirely. – Brandin Oct 23 '18 at 4:57
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It's time to move on to a new job.

Given the comprehensive backstory, it doesn't sound like it would be in your best interest to try to convince management that they need to change how they manage you.

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I'm going to try to answer the question as written assuming that you have some ulterior reason to stay at this company - otherwise my advice would echo others and tell you to leave.

With that said, you unfortunately are negotiating from a place of weakness in anything you try to do specifically because you aren't willing to leave. Since you work in a call center, it may just be that the company doesn't want any independence or distraction - they want you to show up, do your shift, and leave while taking home the least they can pay you (probably with the correct assumption that in that state you are trivially replaceable). If I were to go even further with this conspiracy theory, I might suggest that the seemingly random mismanagement is partially intentional to weed out anyone who can't be beaten down to toe the company line.

If you are interested in project management, you might try to pivot your role - instead of looking straight for a promotion, you could see if the company would be willing to pay for project management training (e.g. ITIL) and allow you to spend more of your time working on projects with the programmer. This will give you a chance to make yourself more valuable to the company (and to any that you might apply to). Even if working on an IT Service Desk is your career goal, project management experience will be valuable if you want to look at becoming a Service Desk manager, and in general this gives you some more pull if you look for raises.

At the end of the day, though, you aren't going to get what you want if you aren't willing to walk away - I'd encourage you to evaluate your position based on its merits right now and your prospects for employment elsewhere. You owe this company no loyalty beyond what they pay for, they haven't done you a favor by hiring you or keeping you on, they paid you (apparently a poor wage) and you did the work in exchange.

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