Respect the Paycheck

Adulting 0 Comments

If young me worked for me now, I’d fire myself in a second.

When I look back at how naive, toxic, and insubordinate I was as a young man in the workplace, I am deeply embarrassed.

I’ll cut to the chase: Nobody owes anyone a job. If someone has been kind enough to give you a job and a paycheck, believe me, they are doing you more of a favor than you’re doing them.

I’m not saying an employer has more value than an employee. I’m not saying employees shouldn’t be appreciated and treated with great respect. An employer can’t be successful without people. But YOU – you personally – aren’t special in this equation. There are lots of people who can do your job. Nobody is forced into employment. If you’re not happy, if it’s not working for you – quit. The only thing anyone is entitled to is a paycheck for services rendered.

This was not how I felt at my first real job.

I worked for small business in the suburbs that provided dialup internet. People born after 1990 – Google what that is. The company was owned by some dude. He wasn’t perfect. I didn’t agree with a lot of the things he did. The way he ran his business. The way he treated people, employees, partners, and customers. His priorities. Where he spent money. My list of beef was long.

And what did I do with that beef? I complained bitterly to everyone that would listen. I whined endlessly about the injustice of it all. I bitched constantly about how outrageous our situation was.

And what did this accomplish? Absolutely. Nothing. Good. Despite all my discontent, I think it’s fair to say that not one single issue I was upset about ever got addressed to my self righteous satisfaction. In fact, I made the situation worse.

My constant complaining just made everyone feel bad. I deepened and perpetuated a toxic environment. Other people got upset. We all wallowed in it. And when people feel bad, work suffers. And that in turn creates more work and problems for everyone.

If  someone slacks off or does a shittier job because they’re disgruntled, that can impact the products or services offered to customers. If customers are impacted, they can take their business elsewhere. Less business, less money, less job security for the already-unhappy employees. It’s likely I caused some of that.

I also lost the respect of a lot of people at the company. They saw the negative effects of my angst, and judged me accordingly. This not only robbed me of potential friendships, but career opportunities and the ability for me to help others. It wasted time. And again, produced no positive outcomes.

In the end, it didn’t matter what the issues were. It didn’t matter if I was right. I only made a bad situation worse. And if I could go back in time, I’m not sure there is anything I could have done much differently to get a better outcome.

The irony is, it was one of the best jobs I ever had. I am *profoundly* grateful to that employer. Despite my best attempts to sabotage it, the experience I gained there has resulted in a level of career and life success that is light years beyond what I expected or deserve. I can only imagine where I’d be today and the positive impacts I could have had on this world had I not wasted so much time being a negative little b****h.

If your job sucks, I’m sorry. That’s the worse. It’s torture.

But don’t be a hater. It doesn’t help. It does the opposite – it hurts you and a lot of others. Take a deep breath, form a plan to leave, and do it. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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