June 19th, 2020 by Gina May 22nd, 2020 by Gina
“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?”
May 8th, 2020 by Gina
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?
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.
April 24th, 2020 by Gina
They have screwed up again. As you finished telling your colleague about a terrible management decision, leadership makes another bad call. You’re astonished at how some of them obtained their positions in the first place. More importantly, you wonder how long the company can sustain such ignorance. You keep asking, “How am I supposed to work with incompetent leadership?”
Truth or Narrative
Imagine asking every living adult if your leadership made a horrible decision. They will reply with yes, no, maybe and everything in between. Unless everyone were to agree that your management is incompetent, it’s only a belief you hold. Here’s another way to think about it: can you prove it in court? It is probable you are creating a narrative from which you feed if a court would not accuse your leadership of incompetency.
We have our own definitions of good versus bad leadership. Good to me is bad to you and vice-versa. When you are explicit about sharing your opinions, you are reinforcing a thought that feeds your mind. It is a subjective belief stirring about: “I have to work with incompetent leadership.” I challenge you to recognize your thinking and take ownership of your beliefs.
Perhaps your leadership is incompetent; that is truly not the issue at heart. The stinging question you can ponder for yourself is, “How is this belief helping me?” What is the upside to believing you must deal with incompetent leadership, how is that thought moving you forward?
Life is easier when leadership makes decisions in your favor. When management decisions translate to a burdensome life, it seems logical to point the finger. However, consider opening up to alternate perspectives. For example, management decides on XYZ and it poses some unusual challenges. This is a perfect scenario to teach you about yourself, if you are willing (See Post #18). Can you be open to believing this is a teaching moment? What if this needed to happen as a catalyst for your self-development…is that possible?
Allow some self-compassion and mental space to be curious about your beliefs. You are like a player consistently trying out for your own life. Your attitude towards leadership is a function of how you feel about yourself.
January 17th, 2020 by Gina
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?”
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.
To what extent do you depend on your employer? Hmmm… they provide stability, security, and intellectual stimulation, correct? Perhaps you rely on your employer for happiness, identity or a way to pass the time? If you answer YES, you may be unnecessarily abdicating your personal power. Let’s take it back.
Who Holds the Power?
I challenge you to read this sentence several times, and analyze your thoughts around it: “I depend on my employer for nothing, I depend on my brain for everything.” What kind of feeling does this bring about? And, can this statement be true?
Your mentality, your actions and all choices have brought you to this moment in your life (see Post #17). In other words, your brain has produced your current status. Your employment is a result of your brain’s hard work and sacrifice; it is not a stroke of good luck. You should never feel “lucky” that you are employed – do not believe those words out of anyone’s mouth. Rather, your employment is a consequence you created by using the most powerful resource on the planet: your own BRAIN.
Depend on YOU
A dependence on your brain, not your employer, allows reasonable freedom to create a life uninhibited by employment constraints. For example, all will be okay should your employment unexpectedly disappear because you will calmly turn to your brain for answers. Just as important, a dependence on your brain affords you the confidence to respectfully say no to the boss when appropriate, or to happily go home after 40 hours of work.
Your brain is designed to solve tough problems. A reliance on your own brainpower will allow you to become more robust, self-reliant and less stressed. When you discover the power of relying on yourself, as opposed to gripping tightly to your employer, the feeling of liberation embodies you.
One final thought to reinforce the self-serving idea that it’s impractical to depend on your employer. If you lose everything tomorrow, including your job, your money, your house … what will you do? I guarantee, you will turn to your brain for answers. Your employer serves as a temporary instrument. Remember: “I depend on my employer for nothing, I depend on my brain for everything.”