I was watching the show "Undercover Boss" this evening & came across this article ages ago.
I also saw a recent blog post in the Evil HR Lady blog about one's worst "additional assignment."
Some of them made me appalled just hearing about them. I wrote a comment & basically outlined my basic rules of what I will or won't do for a company that isn't mine or where I know I'm not going to be micromanaged, harassed or essentially stymied from doing my job properly.
The biggest realization I've come to is there's no way I could work at most places at this stage in my life. Pretty much anything outside the entertainment industry or where I'm not viewed as a competent person capable of responsibility is NOT something I can do.
How come, you may ask? After all, I'm not even 30 years old yet. I'll probably be working for many, many more years.
Well, maybe some of these facts will clear this up:
1. I started working when I was 15. I also had jobs throughout college & when I've been able to get work, have been working for quite some time. If we count babysitting or cat sitting, I've been working since I was about 12. Count being the responsible sibling to my younger sister & I've been doing it since I was left home alone after school at 9 years old.
2. Working my butt off at certain jobs never yielded good results. I never got a raise or a promotion for putting in so much effort at JCPenney & at Godiva, nobody seemed to care that I was being told to put that retail job ahead of my education once the manager who hired me left.
3. I represented legal clients who didn't appreciate my efforts AT ALL. If anything drains your altruism, it's representing legal clients on your own when you don't have much experience & when people aren't paying you. I still won't represent anyone unless I know the person & that they won't try ripping me off.
4. I've simply been given opportunities where I'm viewed & treated as a competent professional. Once people think of you in that way, you can't really go back to an environment where you're seen as less useful than pond scum.
5. Finally, I just got out of working w/a con man where spending my personal funds would mean I'd gotten even more screwed than I did already. I feel really bad for my former co-workers who did that.
So if someone is unhappy, they shouldn't be doing something, right? That's the exact attitude I took in applying for jobs; I avoided anything where I knew I'd be miserable since it would be unfair to the employer & to me. I also lay out my terms ahead of time & if someone doesn't like it, that's their prerogative. At least I'm kind enough to give you forewarning.
I don't think it's unreasonable for me to say "no manual labor," "no janitorial services," "no doing stuff someone else presently working someplace should be learning how to be proficient at," and "no spending personal funds for business stuff." I'm a physical weakling & never worked as a janitor or create messes I won't clean. Not to mention my gag reflex.
The third thing has to do with delegation of duties: if someone else should be typing, it's silly to have me do it if I've got to work on legal stuff that only I'm qualified to do--that's bad management if you're not teaching someone who should be handling those tasks in their job title.
The last comes back to being screwed over by legal clients & major companies at large. Unless it's my business, I won't be spending my personal funds on a company. In my business, I'll get a benefit; I might not in someone else's business. I know I wouldn't even get a "thank you" in a huge corporation. It's simple "do right by me & I'll do right by you" logic.
"Undercover Boss" was interesting since the CEO of a major corporation goes undercover to work among the lower level people (the grunts, if you will) & find out their insights. My husband kept talking about this one guy deserving a promotion since he was the go-to guy among his co-workers despite being newer than them; at the part where the CEO reveals himself to the lower level workers, he did give this guy a promotion & raise. I said "See, at least this guy knows how to be a proper CEO." A lot of warm & fuzzy moments but I'd be interested to see how many major companies do this. It'd be a great PR move if nothing else.
So my major point is this: don't do a job that will make you unhappy. I don't care how practical it is, how much it pays or what your parents/friends/spouse thinks. Decent people in those camps care about your personal happiness & would encourage you to pursue greatness. People certainly believed in me & the ones I respect don't tell me to throw away my current work to go be in some law firm where I'd be miserable. I don't want people in my business who aren't passionate about the field or are focused on the money. They'd just get miserable & resentful sooner or later.
Now I'm about to sleep & go forward w/this week. Easter kind of stunk since the stinking MTA couldn't suspend their J train work for a holiday weekend so people could get to the LIRR train stop without convoluting through 8 stops in some questionable areas of Queens we're not familiar with. Since we didn't care to do this, we stayed home though we did go out for dinner. I'd just like some forewarning so I could do these holidays myself if shit happens again.
This isn't even the first time since we got into a car accident on our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. I did a make-up one weeks later that was a success. Sleep now, though.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Posted by Film Co. Lawyer at 10:17 PM
Labels: how hard I'll work, motivation, Undercover Boss
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