Blue or white collared- the corporate world is often a ruthless competitive world. One step in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person, with an injudicious agenda can change all the rules. It is like one is constantly bound in the chains of dos and don’ts, under the scrutiny of the camera (yes, certain offices do have them and the Supervisor entertains him/herself just watching recording of the camera!). So you are bound by duty, fiercely committed to your roles and responsibilities, and have consistently acing all areas of your KRA. This consistency then becomes your own occupational hazard.
Sincere, dedicated hard workers are good for any organisation. Yes in terms of building that critical loyal mass, of course, but also because they have no time to devote to thinking where their careers are going and how long they are stuck up in the same seat! ‘There is always so much to do. Iam behind my scheduled deadline and my KRA will suffer’. Companies simply love such over committed, unambitious employees who have no demands and keep the operations of the office body running like a well-oiled machine- seamlessly efficient and flawlessly consistent. There are no demands of promotion, nor claims for big incentives with such a clan, for the poor beings are transformed into beasts of burden, of carry forwards in their to-do list. There are presentations to be made, data to be analysed and then reports to be compiled, there are vendor or customer visits, or even photocopying for the Boss. Then there is preparation for an ISO audit, or simple filing of documents if nothing else! Such mere mortals get entangled in the robotic mechanism of work flow, going from one day to the next, pushing the wheel, without drive or desire.
But what happens when one such sincere operator experiences enlightenment? A small insignificant incident with a team member may act as his wake up call and he realises the depth of darkness he has been stuck in, for years together? He understands his worth in terms of extensive experience, specialized skill set and deep knowledge in his area of expertise? He realises how he has given the best years of his life and energy without much acknowledgement or appreciation from the management? If such there breaths, go mark him well. For such an awakened soul then hungers for justice- although how that can be meted out, may not be well defined in that moment of feeling exploited for long.
Ironically enough, the value of a true asset is never recognised by the Company until the resignation papers are put on the table. The Boss looks wide-eyed, flabbergasted even, as if this has come out of the blue. There are scenes when the letters are torn, and even flung in the air dramatically – a complete obtuse disregard for what the employee is trying to say or his grievance or viewpoint. ‘This is not acceptable’. What is not? Realising self-worth? That too after so long? Especially when less deserving candidates have scaled the ladder while you were slogging to make the job perfect for your organisation? And in exchange, the employee receives not just a cold shoulder but tundra vibes at work.
It is unfortunate, undeserved and unfair that the value matters of an employee are acknowledged only when the resignation papers are submitted. His existence suddenly becomes known and discussed. The KRAs achievements are dug up, the performance appraisal records browsed, even attendance and incentive slips reviewed. All such superficial and shallow measures escape taking into consideration the years of steadfast dependability displayed, unflinchingly. For there follow negotiations for a salary rise, grant of some perks that may not amount to anything except a feel-good factor or a fancy designation worded carefully with a new seating by the window instead of the washrooms! The asset is retained, and another day is a win for the management definitely, if not so much for the newly motivated ‘Senior’ Manager.
Then there are some cultures that are cognizant of any such ripples and put in genuine effort to understand the employee dissatisfaction, they have well-thought plan and polices for career maps of each individual to ensure his personal growth with that of the Organisation. This is a true win-win situation. Such places are fostering, encouraging and promoting environs not just for development but also an ambiance for true job satisfaction.
At the end of the day, you need to be wary of the policies of the managing team who may suck way the best years of your energy, competency and commitment and not flinch a moment to let you walk out. ’Each one has a right to one’s own happiness’ they declare full of snobbery, without realising the impact of losing a resource that none other can replace. Such determined and progressive employees end up walking out of the door, not just breaking up the team but also sending years of effort, training and good work down the drain. Naila used to hear her Boss jokingly count the number of people who had left her company, and cringed at that unsavoury humour.
You and you alone can assess the situation you are stuck in, gauge your true potential to grow and weigh your options. Like they say, if you are not working on yourself, you are not working for yourself.
January 3, 2021