For those of you that don’t work in a caring sharing modern company environment it may be necessary, before I start, to explain a few things about the modern company family I’m a part of. They aren’t a bad company to work for, truth be told. They’re worse than some, better than most, the pay sucks. As far as modern touchy feely company policy goes they are really good. Not up there with the likes of Google and been bags in the office but a long way ahead of a cola bottling plant intimidating its workers with violence. For a middle sized engineering company in the UK they are ahead of the pack as far as employee friendly policies go. Pay still sucks though but I suppose every thing’s a trade off. Better conditions = Worse pay.
In a modern workplace such as this there are certain hoops you have to jump through every now and then. One of these is the PDI or personal development interview. If you don’t speak “human resources” this is where you go in to a quiet office with your line manager who you talk to everyday anyway and bullshit each other about what you’ve done the last year and what you will do next year. I go in saying I want this or that training and here’s how it would be good for the company and I want more responsibility blah, blah and they’d reply blah etc. At least that’s how I thought it went. Yesterday I had a PDI of an entirely different flavour. This time things happened.
While I’ve been with the company I’ve been unlucky with managers. They’ve moved on or what not and with one shining exception they haven’t given a damn about me or my career. I don’t think I’ve had two PDIs with the same person and generally resulted in nothing much happening apart from me wasting a morning. My latest manager is one of the good guys I think. He’s smart, knows the job inside out and I think I’ll learn a lot from him, that said he’s still fairly new to the company and doesn’t know the staff management procedures so one of the big bosses came down from our head office to do my PDI yesterday with my new manager sitting in to learn the ropes and it was a whole different animal. I went in there with my now habitual cynical attitude to the whole process, said where I wanted to go in my career and he did something completely unexpected. He listened, worse, he paid attention. He even gave reasoned and reasonable responses. He even put things into action there and then. I’d say I needed this training and he said, “I agree that’s a great idea. That would help us on these jobs, I’ll book you on it. That confused me a bit, then I asked for more responsibility and he said, “Yes That would help the team if you could take some of the management tasks off the seniors, how about you take over this, this and this on these jobs”. I was on the ropes by now. Then he hit me with the knock out punch. Honesty. All this was good and would help the company and would I also consider doing some more extra training and going for professional charter-ship because it meant the company could charge more for me and get more money, It would mean more work but as a result I’d likely get a bigger pay rise. I was floored.
So today as well as my usual tasks I dipped my first little toe into staff management with some of my new responsibilities and it felt great. I’m not completely sold on the PDI idea, but at least now I know that they can work. And yes, I do feel on my way to being a bit more developed.