Jennifer Moore was a recent college graduate and second year associate at a competitive client services firm in Boston, MA. In her short time at the firm, she established herself as a dedicated worker and high achiever. In her department, it was customary for every associate to service new clients and also be available for walk-in clients. While it only took about an hour to service a client, the processing after the fact could take another hour. In any given day, associates were only expected to service three clients (a full workload), leaving time for other tasks and organizational commitments.
However, Jennifer found that on most days, she was servicing three or four clients, even during off-peak seasons when most associates had two clients a day. Walk-ins would end up on her schedule first, and only be distributed to other associates after Jennifer was booked. Jennifer noticed that the same thing happened during her first year, when it was explained to her that her schedule would be loaded with clients so that she could learn the business and gain experience. However, by her second year at the firm, Jennifer expected herself and her schedule to more closely resemble that of her colleagues; she joined a task force, led an affinity group, and managed several smaller projects throughout the department. It was unclear to Jennifer why she was still the “go to” girl for new clients and walk-ins.
Jennifer approached Senior Associate Fiona Surek, the associate responsible for scheduling, to inquire about the assignments of clients to associates. Fiona explained: “Well, it’s as simple as this: You’re the youngest member in the office, so you have to service the most clients. When I was the youngest in the office, I did it, so you have to pay your dues.” Jennifer was shocked to hear that her age was the determining factor in the scheduling.
The following year, as Jennifer’s organizational responsibilities increased along with her departmental duties, she approached Fiona again to inquire about the seemingly unfair schedule. Since the firm had hired two new associates, Jennifer figured the majority of clients would go to them to help them “learn the business”. Fiona explained: “Well, you’re still the YOUNGEST member of the office.”
After three years at the firm, Jennifer’s involvement in the department and overall energy waned. Whereas her ambitious nature and willingness to help others with their projects garnered her a reputation as a potential leader around the firm, she began retreating into her office to do her work and leaving as soon as possible in the evening.
As Jennifer prepared for her annual performance review with her director, she considered whether she wanted to continue her career at the firm.
How should Jennifer handle this situation? Put yourself in her shoes and make recommendations to the top management at her company.
- Assume you are Jennifer writing an email to your director. Write a brief email (about 300 words) addressed to the director (e.g., Nancy). Identify the issues at your firm, and suggest an action plan to fix those. Your recommendations must be detailed, actionable, and guided by the class material (i.e., theories/concepts of motivation discussed in class and potentially the textbook).
- In the second part of your write-up, in about 100 words you should discuss 1-2 personal takeaways, which should clearly relate to class concepts.
- Do mention any assumptions you need to make while preparing your recommendations.These can be presented in an appendix.
- Your email should have a brief subject line; this is not included in your 300 word limit.
- First page with email (300 words); Second page with takeaways (100 words);Third page with any appendices & references.