Saturday 1 November 2014

Always be prepared to quit your job!

Always be prepared to quit your job!

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My philosophy to work is a bit different than perhaps many others'. I will work longer, under far more pressing duress and against more intransigent difficulty than many other people are prepared to contemplate facing against. I also am not amongst the victim-survivor class who tend to view a job as a desperately needed life raft, without which they would immediately die.

In the modern world we live in, it is all the more important not to view your job as a necessary prison or a fenced in time locked inhumane work camp. If you're employed by someone, in fact you are not merely an employee, you are a provider of a needed service. Your boss is your primary client. They are not by any means your lord and master, but rather someone who buys a product or service. They are someone who has bought into you, and what you can provide for them.

If you do the work you do for nothing other than to avoid being fired, counting down the hours, ever in fear of your vehement boss shouting at you, your life is additionally probably very, very, highly stressful.

You, as an individual, probably have a very different approach to clients however. Do you fear a client shouting at you? Does their raising their voice feel like the rug is being pulled out from under you, is the floor quickly approaching your unprotected face? Probably not. You probably also have a much higher tolerance for inappropriate behaviour from a client. They are not your life raft, you're not desperate to please them with sacrifice in the fruits of fear.

A job is a wonderful thing and it is something very hard to find for many people. However, if you view your work as a survivor's-only-option-life-raft, to be selfishly guarded and held onto for every moment, you're likely to treat it with the same divine fear, and under the same God forsaken stress as a shipwreck survivor might treat their last chance log rolling on the death besotted waves.

I personally believe that God put me where I am today. It might be bumpy seas or clear skies. Either way that log which is floating in the ocean, my job, is not my last chance of salvation. The stress of your job might leave you every day: crying out in your head 'I quit, I quit', and along with that 'I am certain today is the day I will be fired'. You will not drown if you are fired. You're not a survivor on the ocean, clinging on for dear life to a small splinter riddled piece of wood.

Often people are more terrified of their boss, than they are motivated to do a good job. If your boss is your superior and not your client, then your reputation with your boss might be much like a slave's reputation with their master. If however you view your boss as your primary client, you are far more likely to gauge your reputation with your boss, and to treat your boss in a professional manner. If you are a product, you need to be a product with a good reputation.

I like to treat my work as though I'm not working for my boss, but for God or some higher being who demands diligence and perfection. I get along very well with people in authority over me, but even if I did not get along well with them I would make sure that my standard of work was up to scratch in every way. The difference between working for a boss and working for a boss, all the while knowing and well-knowing, that your boss is not your master but rather your primary client, in the end comes down to your motivation. Are you motivated by fear, or rather by something much better then fear: the development of your personal brand and the selling of your services? The old adage of only following orders only stands up to scrutiny when your boss is the monstrous dragon of many a tale, seeking the decapitation of your head from your body, and chucking you out of windows in an old form of defenestration. You're far more likely to save your money producing company from destruction by speaking up at the right time, if you view your company as a client of yours. The destructive silence of the cowering employee along with many other results of having a master servant relationship with your boss, can be largely eliminated by viewing them as your primary client or as a representative of it. You are also much less likely to let go of your morals, if you view your job as a place to sell your skills-based work, rather than your last chance to avoid the gulag.

An employee who views their boss as their client, is far more likely to let their boss get on with their boss's work. They are separate from the company to some degree, they need only concern themselves with their own work, their own soul and their own integrity. Such a person is also much less likely to write a scathing resignation letter, or engage in too much workplace politics. The company merely is their primary client, they are selling their services to their client, and not their souls to a master.

Have you ever seen a hawker by the side of the road? They do not own the part of the street that they sell on. Your job is a contract perhaps, but in truth it is something figurative. What it consists of is you doing work and if it is good work, being paid for it. What makes you valuable is ultimately determined by the standard of your work, your ability to communicate this in words and actions, and the betterment of your brand. Nothing stops you from being very dedicated to your primary client, the company you work for.

The days of company loyalty are not over. However, the days of company loyalty to employees, nurturing them for 50 years until they become CEO, are something of the past. If you want your company to be loyal to you, you need to make yourself a supplier of skilled labour, and valuable to the company. You are a product, and if you want to survive in the modern world you need to be a product which people want to buy. Discussion of fairness or unfairness, is something that might emerge in the relationship between a master and the servant of a master. In a different sense it might appear between a client and a supplier. In the first, it might be in the sense of one complaining. In the second it might emerge in negotiation. In the first, below the surface, the person feels powerless and a desire to lash out. In the second they are empowered by the better framed status of their mind.

Whether your boss is middle management or in charge of your company, they are your interface with your primary client. Treat them as such. It will not only reduce your stress, it will hopefully make you work with a higher quality of output, with better strategic thinking and efficiency, and in such a way as to stand your ground and to make the living you desire to make.

In the end of the day, no matter who your primary client is, you are your own boss, and your business is something you need to look after in the long run. Your boss is your client, they are not your slave master. Run your business well, manage your finances soundly, and use your resources in a fit and proper manner. You are in charge of your own riptide through life. Your boss in the end of the day is not. So, always be prepared to quit your job. It is not the end of the world if you do. Rather, it is a strategic decision to be made with caution. It is no less strategic, and should require no less caution than continuing to work where you do.

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