Viewpoint: In the corporate world, is 'good' ever good enough?
BY DURANT HAIRE
I saw a sign in a business recently that read, "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late." While I understand what this means and, for the most part, agree with it, it hints at an attitude that is common in many workplaces today. It's the idea that doing the job you were hired to do, and doing it well, is somehow not enough to be considered a valuable employee.
I've personally experienced it when I worked a corporate job at a big-box retailer, and it eventually killed my spirit. I came to work regularly, did my job to the best of my ability, actually cared about my work, yet it wasn't enough. I had to be reviewed, evaluated, and reevaluated, had to create plans detailing the extra work I was going to take on, because again, doing my job just wasn't enough. They weren't going to pay me more money for more work, but hey, that's just the way it works, right? I mean, if I told my mechanic that I was going to need an oil change after he'd finished the brake job I'd paid him to do, he'd throw it in for free just so he could work on his skills, right?
This isn't about working hard. I'm in no way saying that one should be late or lazy or lax on the job. What I'm saying is that the deck is stacked against the employee. You're expected to do more and be more, not for more money, but just to keep your job. Perhaps you'll get a cost-of-living raise, or at best a promotion, but what if you don't want to climb the proverbial ladder-of-success? What if you already deem yourself successful?
Success is what you decide it is, not what society or some corporation tells you it is or has to be. If your idea of success is being CEO of a multi-million dollar company, that's great, and if success to you is living simply with less, that's just as great. Your worth as a person isn't tied to what you do or don't do for a living.
Of course, there are people who thrive in this environment. I know some of them. They see it for the game it is. They know how to play that game, and they play it well. Others of us, however, don't fit into that mold. We don't like the games and politics that can happen in the workplace. It goes against who we are, our philosophies, our “mechanics.”
We all have bills to pay, food to buy, and other responsibilities that aren't just going to disappear, but if your job is stressing you out, negatively affecting your life, or deadening your spirit, perhaps you should ask yourself if it's worth it. For some it will be, for others it won't. Either way, at the end of the day, it's you who determines the value of success, never should you let success determine your value.
Durant Haire is graphic designer for SVL Free News.