“I’ve seen a lot of good folk die
Who had a lot of bills to pay
I’d give the shirt right off of my back
If I had the nerve to say .. Take this job and shove it ….”
— Johnny Paycheck
Have you ever felt this way about your job? Have you ever dragged your body out of bed on a cold, dark morning and the most positive thing you can grumble to yourself is, “This day is one day closer to the day I will never have to go to this job again”?
If so, welcome to the club. You are an official member of the largest unofficial club in America – The “Next Check Club” where card-carrying members stay at their jobs primarily to get their next check. The club even has its own secret password so members can recognize each other. You know a fellow club member when you ask a friend, “How’s work?” and the response is, “Well, it’s a job!”
Is this what you had in mind for a career when you got out of school? I doubt it.
Did you think that when you put forth all that effort to prepare yourself for a career and personal advancement that you would end up working in a corporate culture that, at best, could be described as a stagnant pond? In a company where management acts like a mafia group that collaborates among themselves; a management interested only in maintaining their own power structure?
Or maybe you were not expecting to work in a business where management comes across as all-loving and caring on the surface, but they act as though they couldn’t care less about you and your fellow employees? Do you feel frustrated to work in a company where management acts as though the only solution to any problem is to downsize or outsource while skirting honest communication with employees? Do you sometimes find yourself just going through the motions at work and trying to keep a low profile for fear that you will be the next one to be outsourced?
Have you found yourself trapped in a corporate culture that could best be described as a hornet’s nest? Where all the rules, procedures and corporate dictates are subject to the whim of management at any given moment?
Do you feel that management is not interested in your ideas and if you offer them, they seem threatened and insulted? Have you come to recognize that your job security does not really depend upon your talent and effort, but on the Peter Principle where top managers rise to the level of their incompetence and treat you the same way?
Worst of all, do you feel totally depressed because family responsibilities, the pay you are receiving and the state of the economy has you trapped in your job like a terrorist caged in Guantanamo? (Who knows, maybe water-boarding is a trifle better than the treatment you’re getting!)
Some might read this blog and suggest it is all made up – no job environment could ever be this bad – but I bet many of you are nodding your heads “yes” in recognition of the truth. Fact is, the corporate culture I describe here is more the norm than the exception . . . and you know it!
Raise Your Hand if You Would Like Something Better
If you have not already given up and given in – surrendered your future and happiness to a group of bureaucratic, incompetent, insincere and insecure managers — you should make a solemn promise to yourself to do something about it—before it is too late.
- If you could find a situation where you, your effort and your talent are recognized, appreciated and rewarded, would you raise your hand?
- If you could find a place where communication was open, consistent and honest, would you raise your hand?
- If you could find a place where your interests, the interests of management and the company were all in parallel – where no one wins unless everyone wins – would you raise your hand?
- If you could find a place where risk-taking, innovation, creativity and interaction with management is sought and encouraged, would you raise your hand?
- If you could find a place where you feel that you make a difference and the difference you make is encouraged and rewarded, would you raise your hand?
- If you could find a place where you are rewarded for the value you add to the organization – rather than to whose butt you kiss – would you raise your hand?
And the Moral of the Story …
I know it may seem like these are just Fantasyland or fairytale dreams, but there have been in the past, are now and could be in the future, corporate cultures that operate in a way that would make you want to raise your hand to join. Certainly these cultures are the exception rather than the rule of corporate life, but it is worth the effort to seek them out. It might seem like a risk to join a company with this type of culture – especially if it were a new one – but be honest with yourself and recognize that it is even more of a risk to remain trapped in your current situation.
The key is to be open-minded, observant and have the nerve to raise your hand when the call is made. Will you be one of those who has the courage to break out of the trap of the business world as others want it to be and seek a situation where you have the power to make the future what you want it to be?