The Plan

While I was down in corporate headquarters this week I kept crossing swords with my boss’ boss. That wasn’t my goal. I like the guy and respect his opinion. I couldn’t figure out why he kept contramanding me.

He kept telling me that I was not going to get everything that I want insofar as his management team was not going to be able to tell me everything that was going to happen next year. Some plans had not yet been set and plans could be changed.

I agreed that plans would change and avowed I was only trying to look at things that we did already know and connect some dots. But then he said I should reconsider my statement and that all of the dots had already been connected by the people in his management team. So then I asked him if basically he was saying I was stepping outside of my role by asking big-picture questions, and he said that was incorrect.

Even when I was getting started on what I wanted by getting some input from one of his managers, he stepped in and stopped that discussion. But he is not a power-monger who hoards information to inflate his importance.

I have worked with him long enough that I know something about how he operates. When he starts leading me in circles it is because I am making a withering assault on some person or process in the company that is more important than I am; trying to get myself killed, basically.

So as best I can tell the real problem is I was asking about plans for the next year, and specifically how my work could fit into the big picture. And even though my boss’ boss likes me and supports me he cannot fit me into a big picture if there is no big picture. There is someone higher up on the food chain than himself who is not providing a plan for next year so if I keep asking these kinds of questions I will end up in trouble.

I feel sorry for him. He is trying to keep someone he thinks is a talented employee (in this case, myself) to stay with his company and working for him. But he has to tell me, however indirectly, that there is no plan. And he knows this does not inspire confidence or loyalty in the company.