In the mood for some self analysis and reflection around your career and your employer? Good. I’ve strong feelings about employment in general and even stronger ones around balancing it with your personal life (I wouldn’t dare say private any more) and making work work for you. I’m definitely in the work to live camp. I should also be clear that Greg‘s article here has had a considerable influence – this should be standard reading for anyone in the industry as far as I’m concerned. Once again, Ivan also led me to some material that’s really help shaped my thoughts with this post.
Enough of the name dropping and references; let’s move on to the point of the article, what is it? Well, it’s not an attack, nor a criticism of you, any employer, any company or any partner of one. It’s a brief run down of the wrongs, misconceptions, abuses, fantasies and fallacies of employment; all the things that get in the way of you maximising your potential, your skills, your income and ultimately, a better life for you and your family. Before you read on you might want to seriously and sincerely consider a single question first: “Why do I work?”. The honest answer to that and perhaps also “Why do I do this kind of work” and “why do I work here” may help you see this article in the context it was written in.
To get you in the right frame of mind, here’s two quotes from Bee Movie as Barry is being introduced to the world of work in the hive after finishing his education;
- “You’ll be happy to know that bees, as a species, haven’t had one day off in 27 million years.”
- “We know that you, as a bee, have worked your whole life to get to the point where you can work for your whole life.”
I’m not offering solutions in the main, just awareness; it’s up to you to transcend and overcome what you can. There isn’t too much structure but I hope the strong theme makes up for that. Onto the form and shape of your enemies;
“Alas, how terrible is wisdom when
it brings no profit to the man that’s wise!
This I knew well, but had forgotten it,
else I would not have come here.”
Not knowing what you want from your life, career, job and employer isn’t going to lead to happiness, let alone success and growth.
Not being open to new ideas and change means you’re going nowhere.
Believing you know it all and you’ve seen it all before means your going nowhere.
Procrastination is bad; go all Nike and ‘just do it’, whether it’s at work or at home.
Disorganisation will make your life so much harder, for nothing. Using a calendar and having a schedule and a routine will make sure you get the most out of all aspects of your life.
Believing your company’s oh so sincere staff and family friendly ‘messages’ is a mistake. Believe in yourself first.
If you don’t help yourself why should others?
If you’re so tired of fighting that you don’t want to any more, you’re in the wrong place.
Focussing on technology alone isn’t progress, solutions are. Build bridges.
If you’re not prepared to try and influence decisions, direction and solutions where you work, you’ll get everything you deserve.
“Ah! Would you like to see them in their gatherings upon the mountain?
Very much. Ay, and pay uncounted gold for the pleasure.”
Good staff tend to move on because they can and bad staff stay because they have no other choice. This is known as the dead sea effect.
Creating and demanding adherence to in-depth, inflexible standards (whatever the function or task) will kill creativity and the introduction and use of anything new; bye-bye progress.
Diversity is key to a team; four staff with the same background, culture, education, social status and family life isn’t a team, it’s four clones.
Beware the ‘expert beginner‘.
It’s good to have ‘steady’ people around but new thinking and ideas come from fresh blood; don’t be too steady.
“You have your eyes but see not where you are
in sin, nor where you live, nor whom you live with.”
Good, soft and gentle managers generally won’t have power and influence and without that, you’re swimming alone.
If you’re manager is technical and gets his hands dirty all the time you have to ask yourself who’s actually managing? That, or why s/he needs to?
“She is alive. And dead.”
Overly strict vendor standards, deals and tie ins made at the executive level without any worthwhile technical input help only those that make them. The larger the company the worse this can be.
For years (and perhaps even now) IT professionals have been criticised for a lack of business understanding. While that may once have been true I now find that business leaders and management in general lack an understanding of technology and how it can transform business, customer engagement and profitability.
Companies that motivate through fear and/or operate by constantly pushing staff to their limit are bad companies.
Other than putting food on the table, what is your company doing for and to you personally and professionally. Is it good or bad?
“Marry the maid if thou wilt; perchance full soon thou mayst rue thy nuptials.”
Come on, vendors want your money, don’t ever forget that. Their needs come before yours. See this from Glen Kemp for more on the subject.