While visiting different companies as a consultant, I’ve noticed an increasing number of unhappy professionals, also apprehensive and full of doubts even though in good job positions and earning decent wages if compared to the average level in this country. After a lecture or when developing a consulting project, professionals from all ages come closer and in a trial of relief, they open their hearts and problems, hoping to find a new breath or a light at the end of the tunnel for their mistaken path in the corporative world.
There’s a big difference between doing what you enjoy and enjoying what you do. If one could chose, perhaps more than 90% of people would change positions in order to find their professional way, though the statistics and experience prove that the gap between the dream and the reality is a precipice. Doing what you enjoy is basically a life project, something one should pursue without saving energy and willingness, focus and persistence, regardless the financial reward which should come naturally when finding your true talent.
Another reflection lies on the fact that many people are lost professionally or do not enjoy their work. Even so, they have no right to perform badly the tasks they’ve been hired for. Besides energy and disposition we need to remember that in the current competitive world there’s no place for moody, negative or pessimist people, whose pleasure at work is to curse the company that supports them, a true paradox and a bad example to all. Bear in mind that there will always be someone willing to work harder for half the wages.
Facing such usual dilemma, fruit of my own professional experience and after have lived in both sides of the story, I prepared a few lessons called “The 12 Survival Lessons in the Corporative World” in order to provoke a more acute reflection on the human being and the professional regarding one’s career and goals. Whether following them or not is a private choice, although my belief is that nothing we have read, heard or watched will have a minimum effect on our behavior if there’s no uncontrollable interior will to change for better. As Albert Camus would say, “Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” Here they are:
1) The easiest way to get a salary raise is doing something different and productive. To ask for a raise may work, though a negative answer could turn into a real frustration, especially after assuming that you worth it more than the amount you earn. Remember Ford: "If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability." - The second way is changing jobs, a smarter attitude rather than spending the whole life mourning.
2) The world belongs to the optimists. The pessimists will die criticizing everything and everyone. In the organizations there’s no room for moody and negative people, whose favorite free time activity is to punch the table, criticize the boss, the colleague recently promoted, the lack of labor benefits or even being in constant mourning; therefore, smile even though having to spend your days surrounded by people you don’t like much. That’s a part of our evolution.
3) The human being is naturally indissociable; thus, emotions regarding the personal and professional life are closely related. The secret is when you are able to balance both sides. Nobody goes to work happy leaving his son ill with 40 degrees temperature being watched by the maid, as no one leaves the office laughing after a hard time from the boss. When at home, we keep on thinking about the work matters and vice-versa. In such moments, faith, balance and peace of spirit are indispensable.
4) In the corporative world, the one who is able to, leads; the one who needs, obeys; the smart one, moves. That doesn’t mean you should throw everything into space the following day, but paraphrasing Albert Camus, “Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better”. There is a relation of submission and according to how much you accept it, it tends to be more painful. Conclusion: do not work for companies which owner is spiritually weak. Try to be stronger than him and look for a company compatible with your own life style.
5) If you leave your house on Monday with indignation, already thinking about the coming Friday, you are possibly at the wrong place. Remember: To do what you enjoy is different from enjoying what you do. We have finally found an excellent reason to pursue the first part without neglecting the second one. Don’t cheat yourself: Finding the right place and profession demands time and detachment.
6) Do what’s possible to accomplish your own life project, being ethical though. Stay away from the feeling of revenge, pursuit, the envy and malice that insist to surround the corporative world. In order to grow professionally there’s no need to be a cheater, nor the boss’ creep. Competence and sense of contribution can be shown by other unquestionable ways. You may lose your job, but nobody can take your competence from you.
7) More important than the pressure received at the work place, believe it, there’s life beyond it. Remember that the family awaits you home, safe and sound, arms opened, unless you are a perfect nut and have married your job. Well, that’s a matter of option, really. Avoid the profile “my name is job”; your surname is worth more than the one on your badge.
8) No company bears unfaithful employees, therefore, honor your superiors, subordinates, colleagues and, especially, your clients. Everything in life comes as a result, which is also made of principles. Being with people of different colors, beliefs and gender demands much more perspicacity than expected. There’s no more tolerance for constraining or depreciative nicknames such as “nigger”, “sushi man”, “bald one” or any other reference that sounds disrespect and discrimination. Respect is the minimum expected in an environment where the companionship is not as simple as it should be.
9) Don’t be afraid of employees who are professionally better than you. Those were the times when the “bosses” were afraid of high skilled professionals, fearing a shadow over their shoulders. Well, actually those times are not completely over, but a real leader tends to build teams technically better than him/her, taking the opportunity to show their management skills extracting the best from the group. The real leader trusts in people regardless the risks, stimulates the staff to a professional growth, respecting their differences.
10) Recognition does not always come after hard work; otherwise with the time. To spend the life waiting for such recognition is an unforgettable heresy that ends up in frustration, pain and sadness. Recognition is something relative and subjective at the same time. How many “Ronaldinhos”, “Einsteins”, “Pelés” and “Madres Teresa de Calcutá” do you know? They are very few indeed. Work hard without expecting any rewards, so that you won’t be let down. Recognize your own value, wake up early, lift your shoulders up, take a deep breath and grow. What comes next shall be a consequence.
11) In times of crisis, it’s important to keep the focus and lucidity. Be humble, leave your pride behind, don’t lose contact with your friends and do not be ashamed of asking. To ask is not an insult. When I was sacked for the first and only time, my world fell apart, but the crucial point was to keep calm. The speech of tough one is nothing in a moment like that. Remember an old saying from our grandparents: “as the carriage moves, the pumpkins settle down”. How would say a friend of mine: “even a kick will move you forward”.
12) To spend your life running after a stable and safe profession is a utopia. Such one does not exist therefore the best thing is to be constantly ready for the market. To be ready means to keep an update resume, to set up a good networking, to speak fluently a second language and never forget your friends, especially the ones from childhood, adolescence and college times. They are the ones who might help you in difficult times, since you still consider them as friends.
“Our country is the country of the future!” Since I was born people say that. Thirty years later, I can still hear the same thing, but the future never comes and keeps on testing our capacity to react through the most improper events ever. To wait for the future without changing behavior is to move passively between the good and bad days, hoping that everything will be different some day.
Some people are always expecting someone else to cheer them up as if motivation was something transferable any time, though there’s no limit for the human need and motivation is basically a state of mind which comes from the inside, from your soul. In order to be happy at work you might need to review concepts, especially the concept of happiness.
I’ll leave for your reflection the words of Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
Think about this and be happy!