Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fear masking as apathy

Sun made the biggest announcement yet of layoffs on Friday.  Roughly 18% of the remaining work force, or 5000-6000 people.  Unfortunately, Sun still takes no credit for the run of bad luck since 2000, but instead continues to blame the economy.  Well there is no doubt the economy has finally stepped in to keep Sun honest.  Now Sun can blame the economy, and many others are joining in this same chorus and justifiably so.  It's bad and getting worse, especially for companies that were not rock solid going into this latest recession.  

It doesn't take an economist to analyze a companies success when they have lost 98% of the market value over eight years.  The writing has been on the wall as Sun struggles to reinvent itself for a long time now.  With new leadership came a drive to convert the company from a hardware company where software and support were necessary evils, into an open source software company with the vision of driving new customers to its hardware through their adoption of  free software.  But they never sold the concept internally.  They shared, demanded, ranted, raved, screamed, and begged on bended knee trying desperately to instill or impart the vision to the internal masses, but without success.  The sheep at the water cooler continued to bleat sound bites about the silliness of expecting revenue from free software, and what the pony tail boy might be smoking in the ivory tower.   I am not into prognostication but his strategy might have worked with more run way and better marketing of the strategy internally.  But waiting for enough Solaris eyed college kids to grow into positions of decision maker in large corporates or having enough start ups hit big enough, is a very long term strategy indeed.

So the real question for me becomes, why stay?  If in fact the writing is on the wall, and the likelihood of getting laid off just went up by 20%, why am I not dusting off my resume.  Why am I not pounding the streets, knocking on doors, networking, seeking new challenges?  Am I so proud and loyal of Sun that I am willing to go down with the ship?  Am I a lazy person, not willing to leave the comforts of my work from home nest to go out into the real world once more?  Am I apathetic or pathetic?  My family depends on my income after all.

While journaling this morning I came to a new and different conclusion, "fear."  Yep plain old fashioned fear, based on self doubt and lack of confidence.  Heres the real kicker, I do not feel worth of the salary I am currently earning.  Possibly strange to hear, but I suspect more people know this feeling than readily admit it.  

I came from a humble blue collar back ground where very hard work was very modestly rewarded.  Yet I have worked my way into positions over the years that leave me feeling like a fraud at times.  In the back of my mind I am always worried someone will discover I am really not worthy of the position I find myself in.  Its not crippling worry or fear, until it time to consider a move up the food chain or out of the organization.  Then it becomes palatable and all to real.  If you do not feel your worth of your current station in life, how do you find the internal gumption to reach for the next rung on the ladder, moving out onto even thinner ice.

This fear manifests itself in in-action.  I simply avoid the risk of being found out by not requesting new responsibilities or by not sending out resumes.  The prospect of having to sell myself once more to a prospective employer is frightening.  Being told I am not qualified for a job is paralyzing.  And then there are the very real challenges that come with this long term belief and behavior.  Trying to write my resume after doing the same job role for the past seven years scares me.  How do you make the lack of progression look ok or even good to a perspective employer.  

1 comment:

donovan said...

I applaud your willingness to admit what many of us feel on this subject. Most of us are too afraid to admit our fear!