Tag: human value

#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!

#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!

#18 Are You Coachable?

March 27th, 2020 by

There comes a time when you must admit you cannot figure something out – yes you! Will you persist and continue to try on your own, will you give up or will you ask for help? It’s a basic premise, but I encourage you to open yourself up to being coached by others.

You Decide: are you Coachable?

Are you coachable and why does it matter? I’ve seen unnecessary competition between colleagues in the office or on the shop floor. People who resist others’ suggestions or advice may feel threatened or inadequate. If you are willing to listen, to receive suggestions and to be wrong, then you are coachable.

I challenge you to think about recent struggles and your willingness to face personal deficiencies. This vulnerable willingness allows you to accept the fact that others have knowledge you don’t. A coachable person is comfortable leaning on others and hearing multiple perspectives. As a result, coachable people gain wisdom and further their own knowledge base.

A Snapshot of Coaching

If you are open to being coached, here is a small taste of what it looks like. First, talk less and listen more. Second, own your mistakes and errors. It happens to everybody, but when you shy away or point fingers, you exacerbate your problem and appear foolish. It is not difficult to state that you messed up, you made a mistake and that it won’t happen again. Last, self-awareness plays a key role in your ability to be coached (see Post #03).

Self-awareness is the ability to be cognitively present in the moment and recognize your interpretations of the world around you. It is a skill that enables you to acknowledge and deliberately choose your thoughts and reactions.

In conclusion, your ability to be coached by others will help propel your professional and personal well-being. Are you comfortable admitting you don’t have all the answers – are you coachable?

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

#11 What’s the Most Important Thing to Know?

December 27th, 2019 by

What one piece of information, what one skill or ability, what one resource is the most important thing to know? Today’s fast-paced, high pressure environment doesn’t afford much time for self-reflection. It is easy to dismiss ourselves in the midst of making everyone else happy. What piece of information serve the best purpose for your life?

Your Career: What is Most Important

If you ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing I know?”, your immediate answers will likely fall into one of two categories: personal or professional wellbeing. You may instantly try to answer this question in terms of your career. Perhaps you’d like to advance or change your career, make more money or run for the hills as fast as possible (see Post #04). 

What if, in the context of your career, the most important thing to know is that you can depend on YOU … that you will have your own back no matter what? Imagine how different and rewarding life could be if you knew you can count on yourself 100%. You would feel elated and confident knowing the most important thing: you can get on your feet and thrive despite any prevailing circumstances.

Your Life: What is Most Important

In terms of your personal life, what is the most important thing to know? Perhaps that your family loves you or they will be okay should tragedy strike. Maybe the most important thing to know is that your finances, insurance policies and related benefits are securely in place.

Or, perhaps the most important thing to know is that your personal wellbeing is completely within your control no matter your circumstances? Here is a brain exercise – picture your daily self conducting your life from the feelings of security, confidence and resilience. Again, the most important thing to know: you can get on your feet and thrive despite any prevailing circumstances.

It is worth reflecting on the things that matter most. One tactic is to ask and honestly answer, “What is the most important thing to know?” Personally, the most important thing I know is that I will be fine and my brain will help me through any given circumstances. I know how to fall and get up. The same peace of mind is available to you!

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

#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, that 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 will offer: your profession is simply a portion of your human experience. There’s what you DO, and there’s who you ARE. You do things like eat, work, play, and create experiences. Who you are is a human being 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 you as a person. Your career is simply an experience on 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.

Learn how to be emotionally dependent on YOU, not your job. Titles come and go; professions are merely choices we make. The intrinsic value of a human does not compare to any amount of occupational experience.

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