Pain vs. Fear (and who do you work for?)

This post is about you reflecting on who you work for.

It’s an important question. Who you work for might not define who you are, but it often shapes who you become. A bad workplace can sap years of life energy from you, proven by the stories of people who have left bad jobs and regretted not doing it sooner. A great workplace can make you grow in personal and professional ways that help you achieve life goals faster than you thought. Who you work for and how they treat you is extremely important.

Take a hard look at those you work for. A really hard look.

On one end you have people that use fear and attack to advantage. They relish in taking you by surprise. They like to dictate how things are or how they should be. They ask few questions, but proclaim loud answers. The bosses that induce fear in the employees when they suddenly sit at the table. The ones that people, to put it simply, are on guard around. They say things like “If you’re not doing what I say you should do, you’re doing the wrong thing.” Doing nice things now and then doesn’t change the fact that most of these types of bosses are the way they are. On the contrary, doing extra special nice things is often how they overcompensate for their faults. Kinda sadistic, actually.

On the other end are people that embrace, develop, and build. The ones that announce mission statements that have more to do with personal development of you as opposed to profitably for them (knowing that profits follow naturally if you develop your people). The ones that want to develop you as a leader, that invest in working toward that goal. The ones that trust, that tell you you’re empowered to make decisions, that you’re allowed to make mistakes. The ones that have your back. The ones that don’t attack you for any reasonable reason, but rather offer help anytime as needed. The ones that recognize things aren’t working (meetings being a prime example) and actually take steps to change it without blaming anybody for why they didn’t work before. They move the ball forward collectively. They are positive.

Of course most workplaces are somewhere in the middle.

If you find yourself in the negative workplace as outlined above I urge you to think twice about continuing to work there. Life is too short to work for bullies and dictators. (Another way to know you’re there is when your list for staying at that job is super short, usually led by money or “stability”.)

If on the other hand you find yourself in the positive workplace, embrace it and move forward and tell those that you work for how lucky you are. Because you are lucky. You have something many people do not. Don’t take it for granted.

Own your own time, your own future, and your own life. Only one person can change it, and that’s of course you. Nothing changes unless you make the move. Unfortunately for many, they go through years of complaining and stress rather than simply making a move. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, it doesn’t have to be negative, it only has to go in the right direction.

Don’t let the fear of change be more powerful than the pain of a current situation. It’s actually the other way around.