Tag: employer dependency

#50 The Office Work Debate: At Home or Brick-&-Mortar?

June 18th, 2021 by

There is a fierce office work debate as mask-wearing declines and Americans are itching to enjoy the summer life. Employers must come to terms with either work from home, in-office, or a hybrid.

In One Corner

On one side of the office work debate, companies want workers in the office for myriad reasons, including:

  • people are social creatures, and they need social interaction
  • workers are not disciplined enough to get work done amidst the distractions of home life
  • employees generally need structure, direction, and supervision
  • the ability to engage with others about ridiculous or mundane aspects of work is good thing
  • there is no spontaneous beer evening or a table football tournament
  • it helps in production of endorphins and this helps creativity, innovation and productivity

And it seems one of the strongest arguments for bringing people into the office, according to recent articles, is: it promotes impromptu conversations that lead to innovation.

In the Other Corner

Let us assess the other side of the office work debate. Arguments against hard-line policies of brick-and-mortar environments include:

  • introverts work best in a quiet zone without distractions
  • open office plans are a hindrance to work and demean the human spirit
  • employees have more control over their time
  • in-office policy is mostly about power control and old-fashioned social proof
  • the freedom of not being confined to cube farms allows for creativity and originality
  • COVID has shown that some employees can be just as, if not more productive from home
  • helps retain women in the workforce

And perhaps the strongest argument for allowing employees to work from home: because they can.

Despite the corner you gravitate towards, I encourage you to read Post #49 for strategies that will help your career flourish.

The Human Corner

For one minute, let’s forget about productivity, power and profits.

And let’s ask ourselves, in the midst of WFH contemplation, what about human dignity?

First, how about companies stop forcing humans to over-congregate, whether in open spaces or in cube farms? Second, what if companies were to stop demanding how, where and when ‘workers’ should be productive. Picture a ban on this one-size-fits-all philosophy. A philosophy implemented, most likely, because it’s easy and cheap.

Instead, picture an environment wherein companies value employees as humans. In other words, ‘workers’ are not thought of as machines that need to be ‘fixed’ or as cattle that need to be herded. In fact, they are not even thought of as ‘workers.’

Imagine a world in which each employee possesses inherent value and human needs. Also imagine a way each employee can fulfill those needs in conjunction with providing work value. Those needs could include quiet time, privacy, or access to daylight. For others, those needs could mean eating when they need to eat or being sick when they need to be sick.

Perhaps the most important human need is the freedom to practice agency over our own human lives.

Are your employees treated as humans first or money-makers first?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#47 Your Performance Review: Is it About Performance?

May 7th, 2021 by

Why does it seem like your performance review wasn’t even about your performance? Have you left ‘the room’ thinking, “It’s so unfair … I deserve more … they don’t even know all the things I do … etc.”

Because I care about your health and wellness, I am going to save you some heartache here. I’ve been there done that, and it is no way to live!

What to Do?

First, let them have it.

Let them have their way with the antiquated process they refer to as a performance review. What I mean is, allow them full ownership and detach yourself from the outcomes (See Post #35). If your emotions are dictated by this nebulous process that utilizes the input of others, you will (almost always) find disappointment in the end.

Emotional wellness should not be dictated by external things outside your control.  

One trick to help with detachment: think of your performance review as a credit report. Other people, who you don’t choose, who know little about you, get to hold you accountable. These people judge you against constraints without your consent. Then, they rank you based on said constraints, resulting in a punishment/reward system. You virtually have zero control over the process, rules or decision-making.

You’re left with the output, which may or may not be representative of your behaviors.

The performance review is part of a process that fulfills an organization’s goals. It caters to their own guidelines, business objectives, and even offers legal protection. According to bizfluent, “Federal and state laws regulate employee performance reviews.”

Let the employer own their performance review, their processes and the stakeholders. Of course, if you disagree with written remarks then you must pick and choose which battles to fight. But in general, release the whole process from your mind and let them have it so you can make space for more productive matters.

What NOT to Do

I highly advise against radical attempts to improve next year’s review. 

Do not work extra ‘hard’ or go above and beyond simply for the sake of achieving a ‘better’ review. Your health and wellness are priceless, and aiming to improve the next review can deplete you. It can insidiously drain your energy while sucking the life out of you, creating resentment toward the employer.

And be aware – you’re fooling yourself if you believe, “I’ll just work harder, I’ll stay longer, I’ll jump when they snap their fingers and do all things necessary…” At the end of the day, at the end of the year, you will be judged by others.

Therefore, apply your energies where you have the most control: your own development.

What Matters Most

For a moment, forget about the colleagues, the boss and the customers. Instead of wondering, “What do they think, how can I please them, what will they say, etc.,” I invite you to redirect these questions.

What do YOU think about your performance? What would YOU tell someone about yourself, your work ethic, and your accomplishments? This practice, my friends, is both a difficult yet extremely rewarding aspect of self-development.

Here’s the thing. Management may choose to dismiss your successes and accomplishments. But at the end of the day, you know your performance level. You understand something that no one else possibly can – your own efforts. That’s what matters most: holding yourself accountable to you.

Why does that matter the most?

Accountability is a self-reflective habit that over time will start to create something amazing in your life: sustainable happiness. Accountability includes redirecting your energies away from the forced performance review and instead applying them toward:

  • Tackling your day-to-day obstacles with the provided resources
  • Being like the bigger adult in the room
  • Deliberately choosing productive responses in light of circumstances

Focusing energies inward allows you to recognize, cultivate, and apply self-development to your job and to your life … unlike a biased performance review, which vanishes into the digital world of bureaucratic formalities.

Let me know how unfair your mandatory performance review was and how it affected you!

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#33 Three Guarantees in Life: Death, Taxes, and Job Insecurity

October 23rd, 2020 by

According to careertrend.com, job security is defined as “a sense of assurance that you will remain employed for the foreseeable future – or at the very least, until you decide that you are going to move on. Job security means you are confident that your employer will keep you on board, regardless of the forces that affect the business.”

Modern Job Insecurity

Back in the day, people would loyally work at the same establishment for years on end. In many industries, climbing a ladder was not required to earn a decent salary or a plethora of benefits. Jobs felt, for the most part, secure.

It is true many jobs and employers have morphed since then, but some employees have not. There are folks out there who believe in the idea of modern job security. Do you believe the route to elevated job security includes hard work, impactful results, and pleasing your management? (see Post #31).

If this is you, even a little bit, I am thankful you found this article!

The aforementioned work philosophy, unfortunately, can lead employees down a demoralizing path. Working hard and doing all the things you believe will secure your job only secures one thing: your belief that this work ethic is the ticket to continued employment. Performing duties out of fear, threat, or insecurity is not only a downer, but will likely lead to disengagement and burnout.

In your employer’s eyes, an impeccable work ethic does not necessarily equate to job stability. You see, your employer may be under pressure to consider executive directives, headcount, performance reviews, downsizing, and other mandates we can only imagine. Therefore, the best and brightest workers can be overlooked, depending upon criteria set in motion by the employer.

If you are interested in guaranteed job security, you can become a tenured professor (it’s possible with lots of hard work, right?) or a U.S. Supreme Court justice (possible, but not probable).

So, where does that leave you given today’s modern job insecurities?

Employability Vault

It leaves you with the fact that given today’s modern job security, you must be prepared for unemployment. Of course, nobody wants to think about being unemployed. That, my friends, is part of the problem.

Too many people set themselves up for urgent reaction instead of strategic proaction (yes, I just made up that word). For example, do you regularly network with exemplary contacts in your field? Is your resume consistently up to date? Can you depend on three trustworthy sources should you need letters of reference tomorrow? Would your current boss offer glowing remarks about your performance?

Instead of wondering, “how secure is my job,” let us approach this topic from a different angle. The deeper question is not about job security. Rather, a more insightful and useful question is, “How secure am I?”

Companies, bosses, and jobs do not secure you. Employability does. Your ability to become employed at any given time is your safeguard … your ascent … your answer to job insecurity.

Employability assets include your:

  • Hard/soft skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Growth mindset
  • Transferable skills

Your employability involves being in tune with who you are and knowing yourself inside and out. It also means you can recognize and articulate exactly what you bring to the table.

I challenge you to a self-serving, brainy exercise. Heavily consider every which way that you are employable. Dissect your strengths, assets, and authenticity. Imagine gathering all these components together inside a giant vault — your employability vault. I guarantee there are more items than you initially realize! Part of my function is to help you dig deep and uncover all the great things for which you do not give yourself credit.

I leave off with a useful expression as you move forward in your career: Employers can never take away the valuables cached inside your employability vault!

Job security comes from within, not from your job.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#31 “My Employer is Taking Advantage of Me”

September 25th, 2020 by

It was bad enough you felt connected to your job 24/7 prior to COVID-19, thanks to work cell phones. You could not have imagined how much worse the lines would blur. With most professionals working from home, work-life boundaries are muddled as you bitterly realize, “My employer is taking advantage of me.”

It’s Just the Way Things Are

Post #29 summarized an eye-opening interview I recorded with Stephanie Slocum, Career Coach at Engineers Rising. She asked riveting questions about employment and layoffs that people like you want to know the answers to. I offered my insights about job security, worthiness, people-pleasing, work identity vs self-identity, and other impactful topics.

The most common topic people ask me about since the interview is, “My employer is taking advantage of me. It’s just the way things are. How do I say no?”

Some of you are working 12+ hours/day while struggling to complete assigned tasks and take care of a household. You may receive emails throughout the evening with an unreasonable expectation to complete requests by the morning. The examples are numerous, but many people believe this is the way things are. When the employer says jump, your brain is programmed to ask how high.

When you have bought into the mentality that this is the way things are, it is highly likely you will not question the system. It is highly likely you will not push back, and you begrudgingly continue to burn out.

Saying No

You may not realize that setting work boundaries and diplomatically pushing back is an option. It may sound too foreign a concept, especially if you tell yourself you cannot afford to be unemployed.

The reasons to avoid saying no or pushing back include, “My reputation might be damaged; I don’t have a choice; my next raise will be poor; I may be the next to get laid off, etc.”

The option to say no to unreasonable work demands is available to you – it is possible despite the doubts that come up. True, others may snicker or point a finger, and the boss may criticize. But, which is the higher price to pay: the risk of job loss with a disrespectful employer who doesn’t recognize your needs and pushes you over the limit, OR an over demanding life of work that is dedicated to appeasing others’ unrelenting, infinite demands?

Employment is a partnership, not a dependency. Do yourself a healthy, long-term favor by learning the art of saying no.

If you’re a disgruntled, hard-working employee who believes “my employer is taking advantage of me,” I invite you to watch my insightful interview on Youtube. It could be the start of a much-needed, restorative relationship you create with yourself.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#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?”

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#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.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#21 Do you Work with Incompetent Leadership?

May 8th, 2020 by

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.

The Issue

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.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#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.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#13 How Much Do You Depend on Your Employer?

January 17th, 2020 by

Hmmm… employers 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 to any of the above, you may be unnecessarily abdicating your personal power. Let’s take it back.

Who Holds the Power?

I challenge you to read this sentence and analyze your thoughts around it: “I don’t have to depend on my employer because I depend on my brain.” 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 – contrary to what your management may suggest during tough times.

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, opens the door 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 problems. A dependence 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.

I leave one final thought to reinforce the idea that it is 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. 

Thin about how could your life be improved if you genuinely believed, “I don’t have to depend on my employer because I depend on my brain.”

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!