“Put Up, or Get Out.”

I was reminded at work this week that in contemporary society, being comfortable at work is a recipe for disaster.

We were given a mandate at work basically stating our efforts were now performance based. As a new employee trying to settle in, such comments have a specific meaning – there isn’t any time to settle in anymore. While some of my more seasoned colleagues are openly expressing their anxiety, I’m doing my best to draw on something that I use to guide my professional career. 

Back in the lifetime of working with young people, I always shared a certain philosophy that was ingrained in me at the start of my professional career. Essentially, it is important to maintain professional goals and to learn to transition whenever those goals are achieved. Pretty easy, right?

As with anything else in life, it is often easier said than done. 

When life responsibilities kick in – having a family, paying for mortgages & car notes, caring for a parent, etc – any instability at work is magnified. This is why it’s useful to have those goals or rough roadmap in place to help guide key decisions such as when to stay and how to exit a potentially traumatic experience. 

Many industries have shifted exclusively to this corporate performance based style – including not for profits and hospital settings. How do get the most done on the most meagre of resources? That’s the question management is posing constantly, no matter the organization or industry. Well, for me, part of the answer is how do you value your employees enough to include them in the decision making process.

The trouble has always been a top down sort of apporach to management. Even the most progressive organizations still run on traces of this style of leadership. So what’s an employee to do?

Decide what loyalty means individually. Develop those goals to guide career development. Recognize that performance based pressures are almost unescapable. In other words, put up until one can find a way to get out on their own terms. 

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