I grew up in a household where the woman stayed home or worked only part-time and the man was the primary worker and breadwinner.
My father never made much, but he worked the same job, day in and day out, for my entire childhood.
He hated every minute of it.
The pay was low, his superiors were jerks, and the culture of the workplace was toxic.
He finally quit when I got married and opened his own business.
I often ask myself why it took so long for my father to do what he wanted in his career.
But then I remember that he had mouths to feed and bills to pay with a steady income, not to mention health insurance. That need alone keeps many people in jobs they hate.
Since I married young, I haven’t been nearly as focused on work as I have been on raising my children.
I’m thankful that my husband is able to fully provide for our family and thankful that he enjoys doing it.
But when my children got older, I decided to return to working full-time, and along the way, I’ve learned a lot about what makes both a good employer and good employee.
The feelings of loving and hating your job don’t come from parts of a job you might think.
While it seems that a high paycheck or a ton of flexibility would be factors in loving your job, I believe a lot of what makes our jobs rock comes from the environment by which we’re allowed to flourish.
And much of that environment is shaped by who is immediately above and around us.
Loving your job is impossible if you don’t like your boss and/or coworkers.
So bosses, the following advice is for you.
If you want to be a good boss, do this:
1.Do what you say you will do and what you want your employee to do.
If you are going to propose a mandatory behavior or action, make sure you’re willing to do it, too. I can really only speak from a teacher’s standpoint, so I’ll use teacher examples. If you want your teachers to show up at their students’ extracurriculars, you do it, too. If a workshop is necessary, you attend, too. Your employees will notice if your actions are far different from your words.
2. Expect the same from everyone, even if you think one employee is smarter or more capable.
I see this all the time. One teacher that a principal believes to be particular amazing or even just smart gets preferential treatment over other teachers. She is excused from meetings and other functions or defended even when her behavior is flat-out wrong. Sometimes it’s a coach who gets out of everything because he’s somehow not on the same level as the science or writing teacher. If you want to be a good employer, treat your employees the same.
3. Make concrete decisions, then follow through with them.
Too often someone is promoted to lead by way of gender or nepotism, and in truth, they don’t have the qualities needed to be a good leader. They flounder on important tasks, can’t make hardcore decisions, and fail to follow through on their promises. This makes for a horrible working environment because the employee feels they can’t trust their employer. They don’t know if what is said will happen will actually happen. And many times, other employees will take advantage of a weak leader and run all over them, which breeds hostility in the workplace.
4. Know each employee’s job and place yourself in their shoes.
Too many bosses have no clue what their employees do from day to day. They’ve never gotten involved in the menial tasks that go into that particular position. A good employer becomes hands on, attempting to put themselves in their employees’ shoes. They don’t pretend to know how the employee feels about any given assignment. They ask questions, lead with empathy, and LISTEN.
Now, what makes a good employee?
Well, I would argue it depends less on the person and more on the environment.
Anyone can do a job if they have proper training, education and practice.
But whether they’ll want to continue in that job has everything to do with their employer.
According to this article on time.com,
The modern office was created after World War II, on a military model—strict hierarchies, created by men for men, with an assumption that there is a wife to handle duties at home. But after years of gradual change in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, there’s a growing realization that the model is broken.Joanne Lipman, “Work after Covid-19”
Today’s generation of those entering the workforce come from more relaxed homes and schools. They’re expecting that same relationship with their employer.
The modern employee is seeking freedom to create their best work environment, while also relying heavily on a boss who will model what a great work life looks like.
When a boss is 110% invested in the job, modeling good expectations, treating all employees the same, and doing the things they ask their employees to do, then employees will trust their employer and hold themselves to the same high standard.
And that will make the question, Why Do I Hate My Job? irrelevant.
If you do hate your job, here is my advice:
1.Figure out first if your expectations are not simply a little unrealistic.
In today’s world of social media, it appears that everyone is living on a high constantly. But we inherently know that’s not true. Work has to be done, and someone has to do it. That someone is you. (And the rest of us, too.)
2. Study your work environment.
Is everyone miserable or is it just you? If it’s just you, you might be the problem. But if the majority of people are unhappy, it’s a sign that your employer is definitely the problem. Run, don’t walk, to the first better employer you can find.
3. Forget about positivity at all costs. That’s toxic. Instead, get a new job.
We don’t live in the age of working 40+ years for the same company and retiring with a gold watch and a pension plan. If you’re miserable, life is too short. Hone your craft, get specific education or more training, and do not be afraid to find a better job!
If you follow this advice, you’ll be a better employer and help your employees travel down the road to contentment, which leads to better progress for your company.
What makes your job great? What makes it terrible? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.