You have had it. The boss is a jerk. The commute is giving you hemorrhoids. The chair in your work space is broken. The coffee that spews out in the office kitchen is toxic. It is time to quit. Wait a minute, don’t do it. Get the next job first, no matter how long it takes.
Several reasons come immediately to mind. The paycheck looms large in this process. As in, if you quit without a new job there will be no pay- check for who knows how long. Another big reason is that it is easier to find a new job when you have a job. Without a current job, future employers want to know what happened and will almost always give the benefit of the doubt to the employer. Were you hard to work with? Were you really fired? What is your problem?
Even in a boom market, you cannot tell how long it will take to find that new job. Could be days, weeks, months, or worse. No matter how much workplace torture, keep the job and ramp up the new job hunt.
Besides, what could be a better feeling than telling the boss you have a great new job and he or she cannot talk you out of it.
Monday, October 17 is National Boss’s Day in the U.S. It is an annual made up day that no one wants to celebrate. As if we needed a day at work that no one likes. Bosses don’t like the day and neither does anyone who works for a boss. And that is most of us. The “holiday” is awkward and unnecessary and the reasons are legion.
First, good bosses want neither gifts nor this artificial recognition. Good bosses are self aware and organized and don’t need cupcakes in October to be affirmed. Given financial disparities, good bosses don’t want anyone to use hard earned money for a new mouse pad gift. It’s awkward and embarrassing and puts the boss in a spot where he or she has to say, “Thanks, now get back to work.”
From the subordinates’ perspective, the saw cuts two ways. On the negative side, there’s nothing more miserable than celebrating someone that you don’t like. And then there is the pressure if a collection being taken to get the boss a gift. If you don’t contribute, you’re not a team player.
Pull the saw the other way and it might bring out the real nature of National Boss’s Day. Remember why we like our jobs. Remember what it is that creates job satisfaction. Researchers have been working on this since the Vikings were rowing the boats. And there are a lot of answers but one stands out. Pay and benefits are up there on the satisfaction list. Free coffee and free lunch and workout facilities are good. The nature of the work is very important. But the one factor seems to always stand out is your boss. Yes, that boss.
The more you feel supported and mentored by your boss and the more you get along with your boss, the more satisfied you will be at work. Simple as that – the boss is always at the top of the list.
If you are a boss, remember the important role you play in the lives of everyone around you. Be the mentor and leader without having to be celebrated once a year.
If you like your job you might just need to remind your boss of how important he or she is to your job satisfaction. No flowers or candy required.
If you ignore National Boss’s Day altogether, it’s likely that no one will notice and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief – until next year.
One summer I worked in a warehouse moving freight onto trucks. It was a simple job of moving stuff from one truck that had just arrived onto another truck that was about to leave. We were measured by the weight of what was moved and how fast we could move it. The more weight we moved and the faster we moved it, the more money we made. And, like my fellow loaders, money was pretty much all that mattered. So we scurried around the warehouse moving freight as fast as we could – that’s what we were incented to do. We loaded pallets of steel on top of stereos. We stacked pallets of glassware so high it was sure to tip over. We didn’t think too much about what would happen when the loaded truck arrived at the final location. Insurance costs and damage must have been through the roof. The incentives instructed our behavior and, although I am now embarrassed by it, we “gamed” the system. A bunch of people were later fired for excessive damage to freight.
More than once I have been in a call center in which the customer support people are measured by the number of calls taken and the length of the call. In short, the less time spent on the call, the more likely that the goal will be reached and that incentives will kick in. It is a formula that leads to the support people hanging up on customers in order for incentives to pay out. Support people quickly figure out how to game the system at the expense of the company. And more than once, I have seen people fired in call centers after customer complaints.
Wells Fargo just recently received a $100 million penalty from the Consumer Financial Bureau, because of the illegal practices of its employees. As we have all heard the infractions include secretly opening unauthorized accounts for customers. The 5,300 Wells Fargo employees that were involved have since been fired. Wow, what a mess. Now the CEO and Chairman is forfeiting his bonus of $41 million.
The question everyone is asking is: How could so many people get caught up in such a bad thing? Try looking at the incentives.
I am not an expert on the Wells Fargo situation and the Company is full of good people…but I do know this: When there are goals that are tough to achieve and incentives that only kick in when goals are met, it’s a situation ripe for gaming.
Goals and incentives can make for a complicated equation that leads to all kinds of behaviors. Good and bad. If the incentives are off, chances are the whole organization might be tipping toward big problems. So many dashboards exist today that someone should see incentive problems early.
Setting goals with incentives that match can be magic. Make the magic work for you.