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Tag: career dependency

#24 Did your Employer Break a Promise to You?

June 19th, 2020 by

“It’s better to receive a smaller raise now so you can get a bigger raise later!” Have you heard, “Working 60+ hours a week without overtime is an opportunity for you to shine.” I could go on as you nod your head yes, but you get it. This common rhetoric is no laughing matter. How are you supposed to be a motivated, impactful employee when your employer breaks a promise to you?

A Grain of Salt

Imagine a time when your friend, spouse or loved one make a promise they didn’t keep. Were you devastated or disappointed? In hindsight, you might be able to see the signs clearly and you can’t believe you were so naïve. On the other hand, some people keep their promises. And you know you can count on them.

What about when your employer breaks a promise to you? First, for anyone to break a promise, a promise must be established up front. This is tricky and the nuances can be inconspicuous. Secondly, if your employer clearly makes a promise to you, it is your choice to believe or disbelieve. Sadly, employees tend towards believing the promise and simply hoping for the best. Lesson learned is that sometimes promises should be skeptically received with a grain of salt. Or several grains of salt.

Who Needs Promises

Where does that leave you, what are your options when your employer breaks a promise to you (see Post #21)? Rewind back to the point when your manager made this so-called promise. It was your self-obligation to decide if this promise was believable. Do you know how to find out if a promise is believable? You request the conditions in writing, to be signed by management. When the signed agreement is in your possession, congratulations, you have yourself a promise! If they don’t agree to their promise in writing … well, you can form your own conclusion.

Your management, by the way, is within their rights to tell you what they think you want to hear. They can promise the moon. The point is that people tell you things all the time. Your self-obligation is to use the best judgment and decide whether to believe. It’s a crappy road when your employer breaks a promise to you. The wrong question is, ”How could they do that to me?” The critical questions are, “Why did I want to believe their promise in the first place? How is it I put myself in that position?”

#22 Have Trouble Saying No?

May 22nd, 2020 by

Do you find yourself saying yes when you secretly want to say no? Such as when your boss asks for your expertise on a thick draft knowing your plate is full. Or, an overseas customer would like your participation on a 4am conference call, at their convenience. You have trouble saying no and subsequently oblige because this is part of the job. Right?

The Dilemma

As a diligent, dependable employee, you have trouble saying no, whether in response to unreasonable requests or small favors. First, you welcome challenges that allow you to contribute solid results. Second, you feel pressured. After all, what were to happen if you said no? The only way to find out what would happen is to start saying no, but you don’t want to take the chance. Instead, you overcommit yourself to the point of exhaustion.

People-pleasers, those that have trouble saying no, reluctantly say yes at their own expense to gain favor with someone else. You are painfully aware that you don’t want to provide a service. Then you regretfully spend energy to perform this service, stealing your time away from things that matter. To add to your frustrations, you end up resenting the person for whom you provided this service. At the end of the day, you bitterly ask yourself why you have trouble saying no.

Internal Versus External Approval

Your justifications for saying yes will vary from, “they might fire me” to, “I can’t say no.” Whatever your reasons, they are rooted from the same issue: fear. You fear for your reputation, your job and your confidence (See Post #04). Fear can a powerful influential force, and others may use your fear to their own advantage.

Your fears are born from an inability to gain internal approval – you struggle to please yourself. You see, when an unwilling yes translates to gaining others’ approval, you are filling a void. This void includes a lack of self-respect and a lack of internal satisfaction with yourself. You fill this void by pleasing others, i.e., you strive for external approval. When colleagues, friends or bosses are happy with your capitulation, the urge to gain internal satisfaction ceases. Your deep-rooted fear grows over time as you consistently seek external approval.

You must be willing to be disliked by others so you can like yourself. Boss included.

#20 “Where is my Raise?”

April 24th, 2020 by

You are an exceptional employee, going above and beyond the call of duty. You’ve worked weekends, quelled dangerous fires and customers appreciate your genuine efforts. In your recent yearly review, management praised your work and thanked you for your dedication. For whatever reason, your yearly raise vanished into thin air. It doesn’t make sense, you want answers, and you want to know, “Where is my raise?”

What you Should Know

I don’t mean to be a pessimistic heartbreaker. But, I am going to share something I wish someone would have told me back when. I wish a mentor would have been brutally honest and told me, “Your employer is under no obligation to provide raises.” I would have awkwardly questioned this statement over a disappointing lunch. Nobody ever shared this little but impactful secret.

Had I known I was not entitled to a yearly raise, I wouldn’t have felt like I had just been blasted with a water hose the first time I was denied. It happened more than once; the second time admittedly wasn’t as bad. Nonetheless, I turned back the clock and tried to understand what I did wrong. Why was I being punished for what I thought was particularly good work. I wanted to ask, “Where is my raise?”

Stop Doing This

Today I know better, and I’d like to share a few things to spare you the same suffering. First, it is true. Employers are under no obligation to provide yearly raises (unless, of course, it is specified in a written contract). It is comforting to believe your employer will provide yearly raises out of the goodness of their lucrative hearts. However, you are not entitled. Dependency on a raise to make you feel better is like dependency on your child to earn straight A’s.

Next, stop blaming yourself. There is no positive outcome when you resuscitate previous work scenarios to use against yourself. Forget about this tempting habit to fall into the self-blame trap. Last, it does not matter if you are the best employee or the worst. When your employer decides you’re not getting a raise, stop asking yourself “why”, “where is my raise”, or “what the hell?”

Shifting Focus

What you can do instead is shift your focal point inward (See Post #13). An outwardly focused perspective may include dwelling on a raise you know you deserved but did not receive. How would productivity change and how would your self-confidence change if you only focused inwardly? For example, perform your absolute best daily so you can savor your own work ethic. Go the extra mile (within reason) knowing at the end of the day you tried your best. Serve your customers on a silver platter, not in hopes of a raise, but because you know you are capable.

Only you can entirely understand the depths of your own capabilities. The job, the employer and the raise are simply external byproducts. Nothing is more rewarding than the justified self-elation stirring about after blowing your own mind.

#19 COVID Effects: Do you Secretly Wish to be Laid Off?

April 10th, 2020 by

Restaurants are only permitted to serve takeout, students must adjust to online learning and employees find themselves working from home. If they’re working at all. Many service and professional workers have been pushed out of their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You feel sympathy for the newly unemployed as they scramble to figure things out. However, in the midst of their unwelcome unemployment, you secretly wish to be laid off.

Old Problem Solved

In your mind, a forced layoff means you get to sever ties without submitting your 2 weeks’ notice. That solves many problems for you! First, it provides an easy explanation during future job interviews. “They laid me off due to COVID downsizing” seems to take responsibility away from you as the employee.

Second, your spouse has no control over your being laid off. If only your employer let you go, you wouldn’t have to convincingly persuade your spouse that your time is up. The third issue a layoff will resolve is your reticent desire to get the heck out of that place. You can create long list of reasons why it’s time to leave; or, perhaps you’re holding on to one significant reason. Your bottom line: secretly wishing to be laid off paves the easy way to other, more satisfying employment.

New Problem

My challenge to you: how will you handle similar circumstances in your new place of employment? Imagine this: pretend you eventually find a better job with a better salary and a better commute (see Post #08). You’re as happy as can be for several months – this is what you’ve always sought in a career… until it’s not.

How would you handle your new circumstance if, let’s say, one day you learn the company is sold? How would you handle a new boss, a reassignment to a new program, or a round of salary cuts? When a career checks all the boxes and life is well, you’re not challenged to evolve, grow or to practice self-awareness. It’s an insidious deceit for all of us when life operates as a well-oiled machine.

Adaptability

Even a well-oiled machine wears down and requires maintenance. Just when you believe that new job is perfect and meets all your requirements, one day you’ll find that it doesn’t. Will you then think about searching for the next one?

When you next job isn’t what you thought, are you going to secretly wish to be laid off again? A layoff (or a new job) may temporarily provide relief from current career woes. The best long-term solution, however, is to work on your mental adaptability skills. You will be a happier, more productive and resilient person if you adapt your brain to job circumstances rather than forcing job circumstances to adapt to your brain.

#17 Do You Think for Yourself?

March 13th, 2020 by

Do you embrace information without question, OR do you tend to think independently? I will talk about the differences and you can determine how these apply to your life.

Living a Programmed Life

Imagine the last time you openly challenged a theory, a boss or a customer. Our society, at times, does not advocate that you challenge status quo. You tend to conform to the norm when you don’t ask questions or perform your own investigations. When this happens, you are believing information as is or perhaps you don’t have time to verify. You probably like to be efficient, and right or wrong, it’s efficient to believe what you are told. It’s not efficient to question information that many embrace without the blink of an eye.

For example, have you ever questioned processes, policies or feedback at work? How about your faith or religious beliefs? Or marriage and the idea of rearing kids? And what about your financial dealings, such as 401ks, IRAs and other investments? The point here is that you have full control over your personal actions and beliefs – how often do you make decisions based on your own interpretation of knowledge? You run the risk of living by default when consistently conforming to ideas, customs and norms without question.

Think for Yourself

In contrast, an independent thinker tends to make deliberate, conscious decisions. And an independent thinker acknowledge their reasons for making such choices. If you think on your own behalf, you tend to question ideas, practices and status quo. This is not an easy practice because others generally don’t like to be challenged. And I am not suggesting you question everything and everyone in your life (see Post #12). Rather, I challenge you to thoughtfully ponder ideas, principles and the lifestyle you live by. Have these been chosen for you or by you?

In conclusion, we fall between the two extremes of accepting all information at face value vs questioning status quo. Where do you stand?

#9 Do Jobs Determine Human Value?

December 13th, 2019 by

True or false: your human worth is synonymous with your profession? The more worthy the career, the more worthy the person. Correct? When jobs determine human value, workplace status spills over into your personal world. If you’re seeking a precise recipe for disaster, this is it!

The Danger Zone

It is perfectly healthy to be proud of your occupation. What’s not so healthy is when you associate your humanness with your career and job title. In fact, it can be self-destructive. If you equate human worth to the value of your occupation, then you have an emotional attachment, or an emotional dependency, on your job. This is a surefire way to set your life up for disappointment.

An emotional attachment means your personal feelings fluctuate with the ebbs and flows of your career. In other words, you rely on your career to meet your emotional needs (see Post #13). When the career is good, life is good. When the career isn’t so hot, your personal life suffers and it can be a treacherous, downward spiral. Sound familiar?

Human Worth

The biggest takeaway I can offer: your profession is simply a portion of your human experience on this earth. There’s what you do, and there’s who you ARE. You do things like eat, work, play, and experience things. Who you are is a human that is 100% worthy, because all humans possess inherent, boundless value. Not one human is better or more worthy than another.

Thus, your career and job titles are in no way proportional to your human worthiness. It is true your chosen career is a reflection of your personal characteristics; however, it does not define who you are as a person. Your career is simply an experience on this earth. This is critical information because the moment your job disappears, you’re left with you. If you believe jobs determine human value, then in theory, every person without a job would be a worthless human.

Jobs come and go; professions are merely choices we make. The intrinsic value of a human is incomparable to any occupational experience.