I was recently watching a segment on a newscast where the topic centered on people returning to work as the Covid pandemic eases here in the States. As some of you know, the United States, and many other countries, are suffering through the “Great Resignation.”
One middle aged woman, who recently lost her job as a bartender, was asked if she was planning to continue in her current profession, and she responded …
“I don’t think so! It’s so nice not to be yelled at because I was not quick on the draw with a Budweiser.”
Employers Had Control
I’ve been in the workforce since 1990 when I was hired by Shell Oil Company as a Revenue Accountant in Houston. Beginning with this first workplace opportunity, my perception has been that employers believe they have the upper hand regarding the employment agreement.
In other words, I should feel fortunate I was given the opportunity to work for them. My managers will decide if I have met the expectations. If my ratings fall below a certain level, I can be shown the door.
In fact, even when I am meeting or exceeding performance, there is a chance I can still be terminated, such as when the company decides to “right size.”
Since the days of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, employers have been able to overpower the work environment. The employees must learn to work within the system, and should respect the decisions made by the higher-ups, even when they are unjust.
Not long ago, I received a call from someone who was above me in the organization, and she stated the following: “I’m calling because you failed to meet the deadline, and as your supervisor, I have the right to be upset.”
I responded, “I’m unsure about the situation you are calling, but I will not tolerate being treated in a disrespectful manner, regardless of your position within the company.”
No one has the right to disrespect another human being. It should never be acceptable behavior, especially in a professional setting.
Because I held my ground, this type of personal attack by this supervisor will not happen again. People respond best when they are treated with respect. When they are criticized or embarrassed, on the other hand, they harbor ill will toward the employer, and eventually, they look for opportunities elsewhere.
The Way Forward
There is no doubt Covid has caused significant pain in many ways, especially from a health perspective. So many lives have been lost, and the numbers continue to climb, albeit at a slower pace.
However, the pandemic has also helped many of us realize the value of creating a work-life balance. Career progression still matters, but this journey is far more rewarding when workers are treated with courtesy, respect, kindness, and flexibility.
In the past couple of years, many employees have even abandoned the traditional work environment and joined the Gig Economy; that is, they will work one gig, earn the money needed, and enjoy life until the money runs low. At this point, they work another gig, and the cycle continues.
In today’s world, employers need to learn how to work hard to gain the trust of their employees. In other words, it’s not a one-way street where people should just be happy to have a job.
A good takeaway here is that employers who make a commitment to create a fair and healthy work environment are more likely to attract the talented and loyal workers.