Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Stages of employment

From the point that you enter your first job, hopefully some time in high school, to retirement, you hope to remain employed.  That is to say you hope to be working for someone for money.  The interesting thing is no matter who you are, you work for someone.  Unless of course you are on government assistance, then you work at not working.  Even the 'fat cats' that run their own businesses usually work for a board of directors.  I have held several jobs in the course of my life and have realized that there are several stages of employment that you go through.

10. Nice place ya got here - This is really the dating phase of your employment, you are being interviewed and at the same time you are interviewing them (if you are smart).  You are trying to see what kind of set up you are getting yourself into.  This is where you promise each other that you'll be treated fair in exchange for hard work.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but you want this job, so you try to make yourself look like the perfect fit.

9.  Honeymoon - anywhere from 1 to 3 months.  The honeymoon period is where you learn the ropes of your job and business.  You might be employed there or you might be a contractor for an evaluation period.  This is where nearly any mistake is forgivable and you make new friends.  Everything is a new adventure and the days FLY by.  You start to get your real feel of how things work here and you are making your name.

From here on out,  the timing of things in other categories can be tricky.  Results may vary in timing and intensity.

8. I'm a company man! -  At this point, you are the company flag bearer.  You are telling your friends how much your company respects the employees and just how great the products are and how visionary your CEO and vice presidents are.  You are a company man through and through.

7.  Part of the family - You've settled in and you've made good friends, you've worked some late nights and you've had some good meaningful discussions on work, life and everything else.   You get your work done, but it's more than that.  You've made real connection's with people.  On the other side there are also those 'other' family members.  The ones you'd just as soon avoid.  The ones that seem to constantly take from your good nature.  Sure, they are a part of the clan, but you know every time you see them it's trouble.  But it's ok, it's all home.

6.  Just another day in paradise - There's nothing you haven't seen or done in the company, even new projects are fairly predictable based on who is making the request.  It's fine, you've got your friends there and your team.  Some days are good, some are bad, but you always appreciate the consistent atmosphere your workplace provides.  Sure, it's a bit boring at times, but you are an expert at nearly everything around and you are the 'go to' for anything the company wants.

5. Draw your line in the sand - Things were going along fine and suddenly something in the company has changed.  Maybe they used to buy everyone drinks and now they don't.  Maybe they stopped giving you that one day off that you used to get.  The bottom line is something has changed and you don't like it. For now, it's ok, but this company isn't what it used to be and you are starting to see things in a different light.  You aren't willing to do just ANYTHING for the company anymore you give yourself an ultimatum.  If they start doing THIS then I'm walking.

4. What??  Hey, that's not really fair - That's it.  You put up with the little changes, but now something has happened to you alone.  Maybe you went to the doctors without mentioning it to someone and now suddenly you are called into your bosses office.  After all that uncompensated overtime?  They do this to you?!?  They don't deserve your best.  They barely deserve you!!!  All this being said, often Companies have to change things because their best interest is themselves, not you.  You are a means to an end.  Brutal, but true.  The company obligation is to remain a going concern, not to make you comfy.

3.  You paid me for a job, I'm doing a job. - That's it, no more extra miles for me.  You have seen people get laid off and you have seen your responsibilities grow.  Of course your salary hasn't grown commensurate with your time needed to complete your additional work.  You can't keep up with all the work, so...you don't.  You put in your time and you start paying more attention to potential jobs that move by.  You have become the very definition of passive aggressive.

2.  Wow, I'd rather be too busy than THIS - This is actually an alternative to 3.  You've noticed that you've got less and less to do.  You offer help, but there isn't anything that needs to be done.  Suddenly tasks that used to take an hour or two take days.  You heard somewhere that if you stop getting things to do or better yet you are asked to share what you know about some arcane process to some bright eyed bushy tailed idiot, you are going to soon get the bums rush.  Every day, you wonder if this is your last, yet you feel like it wouldn't be THAT big a deal.  Your job hunting should be under full swing at this point.

1.  But who gets the kids?!? - This is it.  You get a call to come see your vice president or director.  When you enter the office, you see the HR officer and your boss.  There is no way that this ends any way but badly.  Their mind is made up, you are not coming back.  This is where things get genuinely pathetic.  From little words of consolation like 'it's just business'  Well duh you moron.  of course it's just business.  If it weren't I could probably just sue you.  But please don't make it worse by expecting me to not take it personally.  It is personal, you have said that as far as the company is concerned, I have no more value. Not in so many words, but still.  This is where the final lesson is taught.  Any business will only keep you as long as they have a use for you.  Remember all those unpaid overtime hours?  Yeah, they got you nothing in the way of loyalty and probably nothing in the way of compensation.  With any luck.  You have learned your lesson.    The other end is that you walk in and tell you boss you're giving them your two weeks.  If they are smart, they will take it and understand that your relationship has come to an end.  If they are desperate they will offer you stay money.  This doesn't really work.  That horse is out of the barn.  You move on to greener pastures hopefully to find a better experience.

No, this isn't the only way it ends.  You could end up with the Gold watch after many many long years of service.  The Odds don't really bear that out, but it could still happen.  The best you can do is remain circumspect through all aspects of your cycle of employment.  Look at each phase for what it is and remember the BEST thing you can do throughout all of your employment is remain involved with your own improvement in your skills and your business habits.  Companies come and companies go, it's up to you to increase your own value and ride the next wave.  Next wave...15 days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to say I've been very lucky in my "career". My "career" has consisted as either working with or for attorneys. I've never been saddled with one of the guys they make the jokes about, and apparently those guys are a dime a dozen. Ok, I did run across that one loser who should have been disbarred a hundred times, but rather than work for him, I married him. So that doesn't count, right? In any event, I've mostly been at the bottom few of the list, sometimes the middle. Can't complain.