Saturday, May 15, 2010

What do you expect from your 9-5?

If you ask people why they have a job, I bet all of them will tell you the same thing - to earn a living lah! To earn money so they can pay their bills and live like normal human beings.

If only that were completely true.

Would you agree with me that in employment, most people find the journey more important than the destination? Money being the destination.

Let me explain. Does "I wouldn't mind earning a bit less as long as I don't have to work in this dump" ring a bell?

Or how about the friend that leaves a high-paying job and tells you, "Friend, its not about the money."

That's your journey talking to you more than you destination so there you go, the "I work for money" urban legend, busted.

Ok, maybe that's too strong a word because believe it or not, there are people out there who'll do anything for money. You've seen them. Seniors who've served the same company for 15 or 20 years. We joke that they can't get a job elsewhere, that's why they stay behind. Maybe, but its easy to forget that some people are actually less interested in self affirmation than we are. Maybe it is us who can't comprehend that simple world view where I do what you want, you pay me, we both happy.

I think many professionals, seniors included, lie to themselves when they seek employment. They tell themselves "I'm in this for money" when the truth is, even money won't stop them from leaving due to wounded pride, insufficient recognition, differences in opinon. That's self affirmation talking. You go in thinking about money but subconsciouly expect another. Isn't it any wonder why workplace dissatisfaction never ends?

If the journey matters a lot to you, this is my advice. Choose your playing fields carefully. Stay away from "chinaman" companies. You know what I mean. Not Chinese people per se but companies where control is jealously centralized, the owners are super-calculative and the only thing they will spend on is sales. Also, stay away from family-owned companies because no matter what you do, its doubtful you can beat the favorite niece or nephew to that plum position. (Oh have I got a story to tell on that one.)

If journey is important, go to structured companies. Those that can rationalize their decisions openly without looking like they're bullshitting. Those that'll show you past evidence of balanced priorities. The latter is especially important if they want you to come in and "develop" one new area or another. I speak from experience on that one.

Be honest about what you want because if you talk as if money's your only calling but you're secretly building mental castles, then be prepared for years of ulcers and white hair ahead.

2 comments:

Haruki said...

I have been planning to retire young, but sometimes I ask myself, can I give it all up when the time comes? The thrill, the power, the winnings, the results...the extra money for me to spend on frivolous things. And the vision of myself as a homemaker, an "auntie", seems really unbearable. But what am I thinking? I'm not there yet...

Harry said...

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Thanks!

Harry
harry.roger10@gmail.com

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