Recently I had a very candid, and colorful discussion with someone who needed to vent about their job. One of the major challenges they were facing, was the extreme sense of poor leadership, lack of direction. unclear communication, conflicts in the messaging and overall, they felt they were stuck with a horrible boss. I will not lie, some of their complaints triggered me lol. It felt like I was watching the news disseminate information on the current state of affairs. It was all over the place. I also had several flashbacks to a time when I realized I was over it, in my career. However, their pain intrigued me enough to write about it. I will say out the gate, I am not the first to write about why people hate their jobs. There was a whole movie called Horrible Bosses. So, this is not something that anyone would be unfamiliar with.
It’s sad that it is not alarming when someone describes their working conditions to be less than favorable. The truth is employee satisfaction can be considered a thing of the past. While many companies say they are doing it well, that is the public persona that companies want the average customer to believe about them. But the dark side, and what many employees might say is the “real business”, is a face that is less apparent. My mind is drawn to a little more than a year or so ago, when one of the larger financial institutions was accused of setting up customer accounts, without customer permission. The government ended up shutting down a good portion of that company’s business, but not before company executives instructed management to fire those call center employees responsible for setting up the unwanted accounts. Well, many of those employees were later interviewed, and shared that they were only doing what they were told from their supervisors and managers. They were forced to meet, maintain, and exceed these ridiculous sales numbers. When they could not, they were basically told to improvise. So, they would find customers who “qualified” for a new account, and they would have the employee just open the account for the customer. The only problem, the customer never asked for it.
There are probably more situations like this, than not. The company’s public employee morale and the internal line of business morale are not always the same. Managers tend to give employees the “well, at least you have a job” speech when being confronted with the conditions that are less than favorable. Because the job market is an ever-changing object, managers do not always value employees in the same manner that existed once upon a time. The thought that a person would trade being treated respectfully and with dignity for employment is a falsehood that gets tossed around as leverage, to maintain control or keep employees working and not complaining. Especially in non-specialized, non-degreed roles or service jobs. Managers tend to disregard certain employees or de-value them over others.
Aside from this poor treatment by management, the question of pay continues to be a national debate. People have to work, and everyone should have a livable wage. Livable is relative and should be contingent on any number of factors, like where you live, children, expenses, etc. Peoples value is often tied to what they do and their ability to earn a living to care for their families. When that is challenged or you are made to feel that you are not deserving of your worth, it creates a series of negative experiences.
To leave no stone unturned, I’d be remised if I didn’t pull into this delightful web of employee strife, the joys of personality conflicts. Most people are forced to co-mingle for 8-10 or more hours every day. This translates to introverts sharing a cube wall with loud-mouthed partygoers, vegan purist using the same microwave as week-end rib kings and ultra conservatives working on projects with love is love liberals. Relational struggles are bound to happen and when people are not prepared for them and companies don’t understand the struggles of diversity, it leads to workplace conflicts that ultimately leave a bad taste and lasting bad impression.
But this is not the culture of every organization. Lots of companies are looking at ways to keep employees engaged. Introducing new telework policies or flexible work locations. Giving employees a little more freedom and versatility in their normal work routine. With the recent quarantine caused by COVID-19, I suspect more companies that can, will move in this telework direction. And while those companies are the exception and not the rule, these exceptions give fed up employees an option to flee those traditional work environments. The pay is often comparable or better, because companies are not saddled with the overhead of maintaining utilities and facilities cost related to maintaining an entire organization on-prem.
In the end, I do not believe the fate of our workforce is over, but I do believe the “horrible bosses” syndrome will always exist to some extent. The good news is, employees need to know they have options. You are not bound to a poor manager or a low paying wage. You can “glow up”. It will take some work and effort, but you can definitely do it. I can help. Schedule time with me and let’s figure it out together. As always...these are absolutely my thoughts...