“Oh, I’ll just be the same guy you always knew. Just with a new corner office. Title means nothing to me” But titles do matter. That’s why they’re given. It seems so modest to say you are the same “Gary from the block” (J-Lo tried it, after all). But not only is your place on the org chart now different; protocols, the weight of your words; your status among your peers; hierarchical relationships; alliances and your latitude are dramatically altered as well. You are looked at differently whether you feel different or not.
2. Alliances Change
Now you’re the ‘them’ in the “us vs. them” discussions by the water cooler. It would be disloyal as well as unprofessional to entertain or participate in the banter trashing the higher ups. While that may be obvious, the feeling that you are now an outsider to your years-long colleagues and friends may sneak up on you like a stealth missile. The managerial or executive viewpoint is now that of “we” and the organization is the “us”. Failure to make that shift will cripple your effectiveness in your new role. The business and its success rather than personal gain or popularity now become your #1 priority. You can no longer share information down the chain as you once did. You are also suddenly privvy to information you didn’t know before, decisions that will impact jobs, policy changes and office politics.
3. Relationships are Challenged
Business guru Jim Collins popularized the concept of the “bus” to represent the organization. You may have been the driver of your “mini-bus”, the head of a department, a team leader or Unit Chief. Now you’re driving a greyhound. The life you may have managed on a mini-bus may be squeezed out by Greyhound demands if you do not carefully take time to do the work of intentional planning that includes wellness, relationships of importance and down time. It happens often enough that relationship alienation and family disintegration can be almost predicted the higher you go. It doesn’t only happen in Hollywood.
Applying the physical law of inertia to relationships, they will not just take care of themselves. In your new circumstances you must jealously guard relationships and choose your work friends even more wisely.
Relationships at work are also challenged, particularly friendships and even casual acquaintences. The “Green-Eyed Monster” of jealousy may crop up among people where you least expect it (“Why you and not me?!) and you may find yourself the subject of gossip and rumors.
4. Financial Disorientation is Common
Consultants like Robert Pagliarini and Carol Dacey-Charles http://www.ynotthrive.com have established businesses helping people sort through the financial and psychological issues of sudden wealth. A dramatic hike in salary can leave one wishing (after the first few shopping sprees) like life was simpler, however poorer. From Rap Artists to Lottery winners and heirs, initial euphoria frequently gives way to everything from survivor guilt to substance abuse. You may find yourself being seen by loved ones as the “Gravy Train” that everyone wants to hop on. Lenders beware!
If you’ve just received a significant salary boost, it’s time to get a financial adviser if you haven’t already.
Next time: Part 2 – Internal ego shifts and how to thrive