A long time ago, I had a manager who was a bit ahead of his time. Faced with what seemed insurmountable management issues and the threat of the company being bought out, it seemed as though what we needed to do today didn’t make much of a difference.
Discouragement is an easy course to take in the face of management that sucks. The layoffs, rumors or strategies that plainly are not working requires tremendous discipline of a person to stay focused and continue to do the good job.
But, is doing the good job worth it despite all of the uncontrollable obstacles of bad management in a bad situation?
My manager’s answer a long time ago was, “yes, it matters.” Here’s why: new hiring managers hire people who accomplish stuff on the job. They want people who can get things done despite the obstacles. Despite the setbacks. Regardless of the circumstances.
His point to me was he wasn’t worried about his job because in his portfolio he had plenty of accomplishments — including quite a few when times were tough.
So your work matters. Perhaps not enough to save poor management from ruin or even change the attitude of a poor manager you work for right now. But your accomplishments do matter for your ability to get hired for a new gig at a new place with a new manager. Plus, working to accomplishment despite the hardship shows grit and determination in the face of poor odds.
Staying focused when management sucks or the rumors fly or the layoffs happen requires tremendous discipline. Not easy. But worth the effort.
My old manager is now the CEO of Motorola. Seems that “continuing to build accomplishments thing” worked out for him just fine.