You are a young techie guy with some knowledge and enthusiasm, and meanwhile many people around you appear to be morons of varying degrees, especially your manager who incessantly talks all nonsense with full confidence most of which you can neither say yes or no. One thing you are dead sure is his salary which is much healthier than yours, and somewhere inside, you have a strong doubt whether your boss deserves it. You look around the organization; you know many of the decisions made are nonsense.
One fine day you are invited to a meeting. They ask for your opinion, or it is also possible that you jump in, hatred manifests, some caustic remarks shoot out of your mouth. Your face twitches. Unless you are dispensable (in which case you are perhaps out of office the door), next thing you notice is you are no longer invited in the meeting, and you are sidelined. You see that your friends more glib at talking but less qualified (in your eyes) are forging ahead with rapid speed. You begin to wonder what went wrong.
This may also be influences of Hollywood movies, some English novels or combination of both, where subordinates shout at manager pounding the table and still manage to get promoted or commneded. You think that this is the western culture and as soon as you land into multinational company, consciously or subconsciously, you try to mimic those moments. Again you see your colleagues get promoted, and you are being sidelined. There is no doubt that because of your technical talent they will keep you, albeit in some corner where people cannot see you.
It is also possible that for some reason you have turned into a guy who doesn’t talk: man of a few words, they say. This also tends to sideline you especially in the western world, because you are not contributing to the meetings. You are not called in the next meeting; and again you are thrown into the corner
I remembered when I applied for a job I was arguing with the interviewer vehemently. In fact I was fuming. It was obvious the question was stupid and I knew from the fact that the interviewer did not know what he was asking. Upshot, any one can guess, I did not get the job.
As I am slow learner ( shhhhhh… I never say this in my interview/application), it took me quite a number of years to realize what was happening and why I was pushed aside.
The above passages might seem a bit of exaggeration to some, however I was one of them and every now and then I observe this behavior in some of the young generation especially the Hollywood type.
So, in order to contribute to the meetings (discussions)- you need to make your point and you should not hurt others’ feelings. It is even more true, if you are planning to stick to the same organization on a long term basis.
So what to do?
You might have read in many of the management books that don’t make thing personal,rather stick to the problem. What does this mean in practical terms? It is one thing to read theory and quite another to put into practice.
This is my understanding what it means:
Let us say you are in a meeting, and a guy is presenting a paper on design of wall. If you don’t agree with the design. Don’t say that “your design” is wrong. Take out the personnel element; just say the wall in this design can be improved by doing this. Or, In software world : code in this program can be improved. Show the piece of code and how they could be improved, instead of saying “Hari your code sucks”, or “Everything what you have said is pile of bullsh*ts.”
Remember to disentangle personal aspect from the work. On the other han, when you are praising make it as personal as possible.
Let this idea sink, this is a simple mantra, and it can be extended to a lot other practical day to day things.
In the meeting, even if you hate the guy personally, concentrate on what he/she is saying and concentrate on the subject matter. Don’t try to attach personal hatred/mistrust with the current topic at hand, which might in fact be perfectly ok. Put organization values above your personal vendetta.
Having a techie background it took me several years to realize and several years to master this, honestly it will take you a long way.