If you know me, you know that I have my theories about why there is no trust in business. It’s horrible that we’ve gotten this way, but employers greed has created this endless push for numbers; not people. Due to that, employees do not care about their employer, they just don’t. Getting a job up the street for a nominal raise is usually enough to do the trick and this lends more credit to the concept that, “it’s a jungle out there.”
From a corporate hiring standpoint, we now have this inflated “want list” of employees. This makes me sick because it’s this narcissistic celebrity syndrome, which is creating an Instagram version of reality. Everyone is exaggerating their qualifications, lying about experience, and no one is being real anymore (on both sides). To put things in perspective for business people, Dale Carnegie tried to teach us that people are your most important asset (not the product you are selling). Why aren’t companies investing in people then? Why is it so popular to treat people terrible, churn and burn through people for the sake of numbers?
Working in upper management, I encounter minds (usually young ones), that carry the belief that people are replaceable. This way of thinking comes from highly educated people that have no life experience. I say that because life has a way of refining you through experience. Don’t believe me? Have an in-depth conversation with a toddler about the afterlife and tell me how that goes. Better yet, try following the orders of a boss who doesn’t like an employee so he tells you to fire him. Try terminating a man’s way of life who has seven children. Then, when you terminate him he sobs in your office, explains to you that his wife just got admitted to the hospital, and now you are putting him out on the street with seven children. You didn’t know that’s why his work performance had gone down hill, did you? Just felt like firing him. It’s an at-will state; so why not? It’s about the bottom line, not about a man and wife or their seven children. Still feel like bragging about your quarterly P&L’s? It’s not your problem and now he’s just a scum bag living off the system who should have let his wife die so his performance didn’t suffer at work. I have lived through this experience and it is beyond sobering and yes my employer (boss) actually said he should have let his wife die for the business.
Think I’m comparing a 20-something year old to a toddler? Okay, I am; and rightfully so. For the same reason insurance companies decrease their rates in men when they get married. Think about why the risk drops in men aged 24. Honestly, it’s because their brains aren’t done forming yet and they’re not making good choices. Granted they can legally vote and purchase cigarettes, but they haven’t reached maturation. The worst part is, these young men are prancing around in business environments forming the workforce as we know it with these arrogant and unrealistic views of the world.
As you age, and your time in society increases, you end up living your life in that thin gray line that exists between the transition from black to white. In fact, almost all of your life is lived in that realm. When you are dealing with children, they need to understand that some things are scary without understanding the “why” just yet; because they cannot handle it and the “why” comes in time. Time is the ultimate teacher, but we need to let it actually do some teaching and we need to play our roles in helping to educate. I say this because, when we allow people to be heartless in professional environments, we take a small something away from ourselves. When we encourage bad behavior in business we change the landscape and make turning the tide back exponentially more difficult. This is not a new concept, in fact, it’s basic human psychology as it pertains to rewards and reinforcement. When you positively reinforce negative behaviors, you increase that behavior. When you continue to pay a heartless boss s/he thinks that behavior is “good” (no matter what the behavior is) and look at where we’ve gotten ourselves. Now, we have businesses who don’t care about people and people who don’t care about businesses. We’ve destroyed the working relationship and now we are all on LinkedIn constantly looking for our next job. Work isn’t work anymore; it’s a way to document how great you are so you can fit the unrealistic requirements of the next place’s untruthful “want” list.
I say it’s not too late to stop what we are doing, but this will take some work, and a lot of courage. It will happen in the awkward moments that you weren’t expecting and the word “no” may not always be required. By that I mean, when an employer decides to make a heartless move, don’t simply say, “No!”. Instead, use words such as “exposure” or “liability” to get through their thick skull. This is where life in the “gray” comes in handy because you’re able to use some of that life experience to stop for a moment and consider where under the law this may be a mistake. Maybe your company is small and doesn’t have an HR or legal department to make aware of the behavior; so, do a small bit of research on your own to validate your gut feeling. Do your due diligence to defend the person who is being trampled on by a modern grown-up bully; trust me, you’ll sleep better at night when you know you’ve done everything you can before putting a family out on the street. Explain to the boss how the company would be placing themselves in a disadvantageous legal position by creating unnecessary exposure to liability. Additionally, you can give the employee the “heads up” when you perceive the boss is trying to build a case to fire them. Nothing in this world says you need to be loyal to this jerk boss; so, be willing to make an official statement, sign an affidavit, or testify in a deposition to discourage this bad/inconsiderate behavior. Giving the person a head start may help them to get out from under this bad situation, or even help them to obtain necessary documentation to file litigation against this employer.
Bottom line, do your part to stop this direction we’re heading and stop the rewards from being handed out to those inconsiderate bosses. We are turning business into a place that none of us should want our children to grow up. It may not make you “cool”, but then again, good leaders aren’t cool that’s why they’re called leaders.