Hi Ya’ll. Let me tell you I spoke to a total of 50 people before writing this one. Each one of these individuals was from a different background. On an average there we 30 people who were employed at small and medium organizations at managerial level, around 5 people who were Head of Departments or above and the rest were a mix of entrepreneurs and Directors of a few renowned companies in Lahore.
The kind of honesty I will be writing with, I am not allowed to mention their names. Also the article would be on a lighter note so comments, suggestions, criticism and all are more than welcome but with all the positivity possible.
So, corporate we all know and so do we know the term slavery, when put together form the most bizarre and unwanted combination.
Close your eyes and imagine the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term Corporate Slavery? This was my first question to all the folks I talked to. the answers were amazing. This one lady working as an executive said she sees people with handcuffs like in the primitive times being taken to the prison. One of the HR Managers said he sees employees being brought back to the office in a que after a weekend with hands up and a gun pointed by the top management….much like one of the famous memes on Facebook.
But one of the best replies came from a close friend working at reputed organization on a senior managerial position. He said he imagined an entrepreneur stuck between the walls of a lavish office working like an animal to accomplish someone else’ dream. Yes, he imagined himself. He told me how he wanted to be into performing arts and how the term “Miraasi” made him give up his dream and move towards the corporate world. He also highlighted how NAPA and NCA were alien to him while growing up (he is around 40 plus) so he and his parents couldn’t actually see a future into this field and so he had to shun his talent, his will, his desire, his dream to look up for options that could bring him a decent and stable earning. Also not to forget he mentioned how one of his aunt said “tujhay larki kaun dayga agar tu miraasi ban gaya tou”. He is married today has 3 beautiful kids to whom he sings in his leisure time. I am not sure though how good he is and if the kids actually enjoy it. Lol but anyways his reply made me think of all the dreams that are shattered every moment we start to question our own abilities and refrain from paving our own path.
So ask yourself dear reader, what is it that you aspired to become and who you are today? Are you categorized as a corporate slave or are you living your dream? Did you think about the world while making career choices or did you set your own parameters for success and defined it or are looking forward to define the word “success” in your own unique way?
When we talk about corporate slavery we must take into account some important facts; firstly that not all jobs suck, also that it is not bad to work until you earn enough to have your own dream realized, moreover, not everyone is a leader/entrepreneur and most importantly the fact that the world is changing at a head long pace and so is the corporate arena.
Employees and employers are not engaged anymore as much as they would have been a decade ago. With technology becoming an integral part and parcel and also in some cases replacing human involvement, employers do not see the need to retain particular individuals rather they have now started seeing employees as a bunch to pick and choose from. I say this as the terms “pool” is now frequently being used for potential job seeking candidates. I’ll be frank, I don’t like the word “pool” it just makes me envision a herd of cattle rather than resources. I mean of course I may sound wrong to a lot of people and everyone has a different perspective but for me when a candidate walks in for an interview he/she should not be assessed let alone judged for the abilities and qualifications written on the piece of paper called “CV”. While job relevance and skills set requirement is a must and is well defined by the CV, I still believe that it is equally important to see the intangible resources every individual can bring to the organization.
You can buy the number of hours and individual will spend at your office premises, you can buy the number of clicks he/she will make during those hours, you can even count and pay for the number of time he/ she will say “yes sir/madam” (as that makes a few bosses feel important lol) but you have to understand that you cannot buy the intangibles. You can’t buy the vigour, the zeal, the motivation, the enthusiasm, the talent within, the urge to learn new things and implement in the workplace and most importantly the ownership that each employee either takes or doesn’t give a shit about….the ownership of the brand/organization/company/individual that he/she works for.
I routed the same question about aspirations and about corporate slavery in a number of WhatsApp groups. I discussed this with my friends as well but the best results that I got were through observation. I OBSERVED carefully and then compared people who were into corporate slavery and those who were either at their dream job or were enroute to making their dreams a reality with their own ventures. I also got to OBSERVE bosses both the good and the bad ones.
Now what’s interesting is the definition of a good and bad boss. I mean how do you define a good and bad boss and as they say in the earlier years of your career you should pick a boss and not a job. So how do you pick a good boss and avoid a bad boss. The answer lies with yourself, with your attitude, with your perception of the workplace, with your knowledge of who you aspire to become.
There is no such hard and fast rule to categorize a bad and good boss but the easiest way is to know your own expectations from an organization and then make a fair choice if your expectations/needs match to the organization you are working at, applying at or hope to work for.
Anyways, during the observation phase I realized two managerial approaches that can further play a part in defining good and bad bosses and consequently good and bad employees as well. The first school of thought is the one that believes “employees are an expense; in his mind this boss says “well I am paying this employee a 30k per month and if he doesn’t work well I will get someone for 35k who can do better” in case of an employee’s fault/mistake type 1 boss would say “ok he/she needs to make up for the loss or else is fired” in case an employee does well type 1 boss would say; “ok he/she is doing good, but don’t be vocal about it. Let us just consider it during the time of the appraisal”. So on and so forth.
Now the second school of thought is the one that envisions employees as an INVESTMENT. This boss as type 2 I may call him in his mind thinks; “ well 30k seems fair enough for his job but since he/she is always going for an extra mile and is willing to learn let us send him/her for some relevant trainings and then see if he/she can grasp the idea and we can think about raising both the standards of performance and the pay as well”
In the same situation where an employee would make a mistake, type 2 boss would first try and remain calm and would not react until all is known. Type 2 boss would believe “this could have been avoided, we need to know the loopholes in our system that caused this and must immediately rectify them to avoid future cases, he would call the employee or their immediate manager and listen to their side of the story and then pinpoint where they went wrong” I must make one thing clear that a good boss is not always calm, there is a certain sense of urgency and passion that the boss must have. Otherwise he/she is not a good boss but a good actor lol I mean seriously you can’t be calm all the time. But having said that the type 2 boss should always remember that his reaction matters and that it can make and break careers for those who work for him/her, once this is realized half of the disengagement between the employee and the employer is reversed into a long term commitment and loyalty for the organization.
Oh yes and the final situation where an employee does something good, the type 2 boss can be identified by one simple rule “THE BOSS IS EVEN MORE EXCITED THAN THE EMPLOYEE HIM/HERSELF” He/ she is vocal about it, celebrates the accomplishment and makes sure the reward is not only monetary but a boost to the employees morale as well.
You know it is simple, with the ever changing corporate arena employees no longer work only for money. I read some beautiful lines that said “minds are like hearts, they go where they are appreciated”. That phrase sums it all up, as an employer it is necessary to understand that not all employees work for money alone. Of course money matters but what matters more is the peace of heart and mind. The ability to put your soul into your work only comes when you know you’re VALUED.
As for the employees it is high time they realize that “look busy do nothing” will only drown their career. If you wish to excel you better be the best at your game. Step up!! And hey if you still think you are not happy with where you are then MOVE you aren’t a tree right!!
Lastly, Cheers to all the self-motivated employees, round of applause for all type 2 bosses and a standing ovation to those pursuing their dreams and helping others do the same.
(This article was originally published at LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission)