04 Mar J-O-B
Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash.
Recently, there was an article on LinkedIn titled, “Sometimes a job is just a job,” which you can find here: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/sometimes-a-job-is-just-a-job-5250804/
Umm, yeah. Duh.
With my parents’ and grandparents’ generations, it definitely seemed that you swore some kind of loyalty to a company and you obeyed the boss. Whatever he said (and let’s face it, back in those days, it was always a man) went. Periodt. Even if you hated him, thought he was an idiot, etc., you obeyed. I remember seeing an interview Dan Rather did with Crosby, Stills & Nash and they talked about the 1960s as a sort of backlash to the squeaky-clean 1950s Ozzie & Harriet culture. Likewise, I think we Gen Xers took a look at the work-related expectations put on our parents, who were usually born in the 1940s and 50s, and said, “Uh, no thanks.” So there seemed to be a sense that work should involve something you care about. Even if your boss was a jerk or the company was stingy with its money, you wanted to do something that lit you up, that you felt interested in. Then the Millennials, to their credit, took things a step further and said, “We don’t just want meaningful work. We also want better pay and benefits.” Now the Gen Zers are hitting the workforce and saying, “We want better pay and benefits AND we do not want to work for jerkwads.” I, for one, think it is freakin’ awesome!
No one likes to work for a manager who is:
- a tyrant
- a micromanager
- a jerk
- a know-it-all
- a snake in the grass
- a sexist / bigot / racist / homophobe
And it does not matter how great you think your company is. Going on social media and posting shiny-happy-people photos will not paper over a crappy culture. It just won’t. Neither will nonsense “perks” like pizza parties and games in the break room.
There is also a shift away from deriving your identity from your work or from feeling like every job you do has to bring you a sense of deep fulfillment. Sometimes a job is just – dare we say it – a J-O-B.
In his now viral post on LinkedIn, Joel Lalgee wrote:
“We hear comments like –
‘They need to be passionate about our mission’ and ‘We need someone that shares our vision,’
Is it possible to experience fulfillment in our work?
Yes, I believe that.
Will everyone have this experience?
I don’t think so.
But we ALL need to provide for our family.
IMO work cultures can often be filled with false positivity that can be detrimental to the environment they are looking to create.
I think sometimes you have to be okay with employees seeing their job as,
A job… and what’s wrong with that?”
Back in December, I recorded a podcast episode about decoding job descriptions (which you can find here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/9566995). Some corporate buzzword terms are just cringey and out-of-date. Likewise, I think these phrases about expecting someone to support the mission and buy in to the vision sound like corporate cult-speak.
We’re like one big family…family…family… No one leaves THE FIRM.
Joel also shared an image of a tweet he wrote, which I will include:
This is reality. Not everyone you hire is going to be “bought in to the mission” or will be willing to swear fealty like you are a feudal lord or a Dutch patroon. I mean, c’mon. A vast majority of the time, when I encounter companies that are having hiring difficulties, those difficulties are of their own making. Point blank.
Yes, I know, I can feel your daggers coming out, but it’s true.
“We want 15 Tony Starks: genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropists. Graduated MIT at 15. Insane high IQ. Oh and we also want these people to live within a 10 mile radius of Nowheresville because we want everyone to come on back to the office and sit in surveillance all day.”
“We know the market average for this role is $85K, but we think our culture is just sooooo great that someone oughta take $65K just for the pleasure of being here with us.”
It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. A tragi-comedy, if you will.
As Joel says, “I love my job, but if I didn’t get paid, I wouldn’t do it.” When you freelance or own your own business, there will be times you will work on projects that you don’t like. They might be boring, tedious, repetitive, overwhelming, odd, etc. Sometimes in life, we must do what the crisis demands. You might get hit with a high medical bill, home or car repair, child who needs something for school or athletics, vet bill, etc. And you may have to take on work just for the cash. That doesn’t mean you don’t care or that you intend to perform poorly. It’s simply the reality we live in.