We all start somewhere. Usually at the bottom of the Totem pole. It’s not exactly ideal but it grounds us, gives us our base, and helps us establish great work ethic along with a feeling of accomplishment for every indent we pass. It is “the grind” and it should be appreciated and revered as the most important stepping stone to our lives and careers. It should also serve as the most important lesson in humility.
For all the great skills and connections we make at this “entry” level, the amount of insight we gain can sometimes match the amount of stress we compile. Every job comes with it’s own atmosphere of challenges, it’s own set of restrictions. That’s why the most you can work in a week (at least in the U.S.) is 40 hours. Anything more and you’re rewarded with overtime. 40 out of 168 hours, nearly a quarter of your time in a week can be spent at work. Anything that takes up a quarter of your life will surely exhaust you.
But believe me when I say…
You have got to enjoy going to work.
Enjoy conquering the day!
When you’re older, more experienced, and finally in charge… things get a little easier.
Surely people will argue that statement with me. But if you present them with 40 hours of entry level work mixed with the accompanying low pay (again, you got to start somewhere), oh hey look they’re already gone. I guess the words “low pay” scared them.
“Everybody wants to be the King.”
So let’s fast forward a little bit shall we? Close your eyes if you have to but imagine several years, even decades, into the future where you’re running your company, at the top of the payroll, or living the life of a successful traveling blogger (my favorite kind of people!). You’ve got the money, the freedom, and your goals are now much bigger. Instead of worrying about the smaller tasks that keep the company running, you’re now wearing the shoes and expensive suits that come with taking care of the bigger picture.
Congratulations, YOU MADE IT!
Now what? Well once upon a time you wanted to be the king. Now you have to work on “staying the King”. Managing day to day operations, helping your company or business grow, providing direction for your subordinates. Life doesn’t get much better.
Annnnnd most importantly… it’s payback time! Remember when your boss treated you like crap? Time to take it out on those unsuspecting interns! Remember how you use to get away with the small stuff? Time to put restrictions in place that’ll prevent others from doing that! IN FACT, it’s time to nail those subordinates of yours to the cross and hand out restriction after restriction. Because everyone knows that a company is only going to be good if you litter the floor with caution tape. Ever watched Orange is The New Black? Remember how, no matter where Pepper turns she seems to break some obscure rule and gets rewarded with a citation for shots? There’s your reward system. There’s no need to implement an actual reward system because your subordinates already make money. You give them the reward of being employed. Next thing you know, they’ll expect you to smile at them and treat them fairly.
Don’t forget… you need to be in total control. No one applies to a new job without your knowing/blessing. You’ll need to get in touch with your companies IT for the potential of monitoring all web traffic. Facebook? Nope. A Blog site? Hell no! Are they talking about me? I NEED TO KNOW NOW! Speaking of monitoring… Cameras. I need a camera at every angle throughout the department. What? Security says 15 cameras for your department is too much? We’ll see how they feel when I tell the Board about their objection.
Ok, Ok. LET’S STOP. As you can see this is ridiculous. This is just plain weird. The only good point on here is to limit social media like Facebook at work. Everything else is boarding on how an actual prison is ran.
I want you imagine a steak. If you’re a vegetarian, imagine cauliflower. Now you’ve got all the seasoning, all the pots and pans, everything you need to make the perfect meal. You place your food in a pot and turn the heat on. Now time passes but the soft/raw food you were just working with has become this beautiful piece of art, ready to serve!
If it’s already cooked to perfection and it’s time to take it out of the pan… would you leave it in longer, turn up the heat, and disregard any warning signs like smoke?
If an employee has gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional work for your company, are you going to prevent them from moving on to a better job, pile a bunch of unnecessary pressure and restrictions on them, and disregard any noticeable signs of burnout?
If you say yes. You have become what you reviled when you were in the same position. You have allowed a deserved promotion or excellent career path to jeopardize you as a leader. You don’t see progress, only revenge. You’re not happy for a growing employee, you resent them and take their move as a personal attack.
You have become easily offended. And you must not allow yourself to sink into this common phase.
Turning it Around
Let’s start with the work environment you create. Some of the most successful companies in the world do not burden their employees with restriction after restriction. With a more open workplace, creativity is allowed to flourish and fluster. Companies like Google have seen their best work created by those who were allowed a touch of freedom. Hell Google is now ran by Sundar Pichai, an incredible genius who we can thank for applications like Google Chrome, Gmail and more. And, of course, it was just Mr. Pichai. He was in charge of the departments that would go on to create these wonderful inventions. If you don’t know much about him, I suggest reading up or viewing Youtube videos to get acquainted. After reviewing him, do you think he was the kind of boss who imposed restriction after restriction? Perhaps he tried to prevent his staff from moving into higher roles? I know! He must have taken ALL of the credit for the companies successes. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had no choice but to make him CEO right? WRONG WRONG WRONG.
The encouragement of freedom was well balanced by his demands. He expected great things from his staff but never made it a one sided affair. No great manager works for themselves. They know that by having the foundation, the entry level workers, at their best then the business will benefit greatly. When you pressure the subordinates with tales of, “do it for the company, the company is always watching, the company will feel the reprucussions, etc.” you do more damage and create more rifts than you could ever hope to repair.
Encourage them to be their very best. Implement the idea of working for each other. They shouldn’t have to feel that one small mistake hurts the company because IT FUCKING DOESN’T. But do you know what does hurt a company? A jaded employee. A burned-out employee. A disgruntled employee. Which all leads to a shortage of employees. “I heard <Redacted> was hiring!” “Oh TRUST me.. I use to work there, emphasis on use to..”
Does a sports team play for their coach? Are they simply trying to aid in his legacy? As the Legendary Bill Walsh once said, “Players don’t play for a coach, or for an owner. They’re not trying to win one for the skipper. Players play for each other, for their brothers beside them.”
When you’re out on that field you only have your teammates to help you. As much as a Coach, or an Owner, or even the entire city want to join you on the field of play they can’t. So play for the guys that are going to be in your huddle.
As the coach/manager, encourage this cohesiveness and lend a hand when appropriate. Micromanaging is a fancy word for “harassing”. You harass someone until they finally submit to your rules. They aren’t learning how to do something the right way, they are merely doing it your way so that you’ll leave them alone.
Encourage your employees to explore their career path and when the time calls, support their moves. You should not hoard your employees like they are “things”, like they’re your possessions. Be as involved as the employee is comfortable with. Some employees have a greater amount of pride and of doing things like applying for a new job on their own. They shouldn’t be forced to share their intention the moment they wish to act on it. They certainly shouldn’t be pressured by fellow employees to tell you because of the fear that you’ll ruin their chances. If this is the atmosphere you have created, you are no longer a manager. You are a “bad guy”, an obstacle in their path. People don’t take obstacles head on, they avoid them like the plague and do their best to go around them.
At the end of the day, want the best for your employees. Everything is temporary in our world. Be the best leader you can be, encourage your subordinates to be the best they can be. Have feelings of delight for your employees whether it’s something small like helping out a customer or wanting to move into a manager position like yourself. When you pave the way to success and create an atmosphere where people can feel like what they’re doing is important without dropping the world on their shoulders, creativity and success take center stage.
A company whose stock stands (as of today) at $954 a share and has been voted #1 place to work for 6 years in a row, Google understands the balance.*
So now it’s up to you to find yours.
*This post is not a paid endorsement by Google, I just enjoy using their company as a basis of understanding work place productivity.
Featured Image was retrieved from (www.Pexels.com). I claim no ownership nor credit for photo and am simply using it as an image for this post as it relates to the writing.