Be Careful. Looks Can be Deceiving.

I’ve been mentoring Adrian for about two years now. In the past we’ve met up on a weekend close to where he and his family live. This week he asked if I could meet him at his office.

I walked into his office this afternoon and was faced with a choice of six concierges who sat in the foyer set within an incredible atrium. I introduced myself and was asked for a copy of my drivers licence to match up against the booking Adrian had already made in the system.

Once I had been issued with a security pass, I made my way into another atrium where all the lift wells were. I was just waiting for the thumb print or retina scan!

Naturally my swipe only allowed me to access the floor where Adrian had booked a meeting room.

The lift opened and when I walked out I felt like I’d entered some first class airport lounge or a boutique hotel lobby … couches, very funky bean bags and a multitude of coffee machines.

Had I walked into a Nespresso concept store by mistake? Was I about to bump into George Clooney? The view over the city and the harbour was amazing.

People were coming and going everywhere and the frenetic vibe really did make it feel like an airport.

But where was everyone rushing to? What were they all doing?

My point exactly“, Adrian replied.

As we walked into our designated meeting room, the lights and air conditioning turned on automatically.

It’s all a façade“, Adrian continued. “This is exactly why I needed you to meet me in here“.

Adrian then explained what was really going on around him. All the under-handedness, the corporate politics, the unnecessary creation of new levels of management, including a “Division A minus” manager, as well as a “Division B plus” manager who appeared to have exactly the same responsibilities but who had been graded differently based on recent 360 degree feedback in their last appraisals.

But it didn’t stop there.

I have reached a point where having a fully functioning café on nearly every floor and an office that has been featured in a worldwide architecture magazine doesn’t quite cut it for me any more. People get lured in here and before they know it they’ve been here forever. I can’t let that happen to me. It’s making me feel depressed“.

Adrian then gave me an analogy which I thought was extremely well thought out.

He explained that he had joined the organisation 10 years ago as an Optimist. He then  began to see the way things worked, but needed the security of what the job offered him. He agreed that he had then become a Realist. Then as he progressed into senior management he had become a Pessimist has the politics became too much for him.

However today (and this is why he’d asked to meet me), he feels he has actually become a Depressionist and it’s starting to take it’s toll on his family.

Fortunately Adrian’s self diagnosis of “Occupational Depressionism” is easily cured. There is a solution.

If you’re on a job hunt, be careful that you don’t get lured by aesthetics … you have to be true to yourself.