When was the last time someone in your workplace asked you to truthfully tell them what you thought of the place? When did they ask your opinion and put your suggestion into action? Have you been fortunate enough to have the world’s most brilliant boss or just ended up with someone everyone knows got promoted to their level of incompetence?

Tell me, do you like going there every day, to that job where they tell you when it’s ok to go home and look after your sick kid? Do you mind them saying when you can take a holiday?  Are you happy that they see you for what you have to offer, that they nurture you to do better and care about what you bring to that forever talked about ‘table’?

Have they complained about you, made you feel inadequate, ignored you even?

Do you like that your work hours have increased and increased over the years but you haven’t been paid more but it’s cost you in time with your family, or time to relax, or to have a choice to do something – anything! – with that time.

Have they had a word to you about you doing your banking on company time, using Facebook and mentioning their name, whether you were five minutes late or that you talk too much?

Have they asked where that report is, because it’s late, despite keeping you in back to back meetings all day long?  Do they bombard you with email that takes hours to answer and is so overwhelming you just can’t get through it?

That is why they call it work.  Because, god, that is what it takes to come out of it with any slither of a soul left.  So, before they extract ‘you’ completely from you, take a moment to write down everything that you are brilliant at.  Yes, pen and paper, keyboard and printer; whatever works for you.

Write down what is left of you after this crap.  Stretch yourself to remember your agility and spectacular acumen prior to the burden of the place.  Go deep – find all the places from which you can offer something to this world.  Take yourself out of the rut and open a door to possibility by being your own best advocate.  Write it all down before you become a shadow of your former self.

Now let’s talk about the truth.

  • Business is in business to make money.  If they can’t make money the first thing they do is get rid of people.
  • The world economy no longer supports full employment – it is pushing more and more people into self-employment, whether they choose it or not.  Job security is something the baby boomers dined out on when Danish deluxe was the fashion not the trend.
  • Despite how many leadership articles there are out there, there are a lot of assholes in the world and many of them have used this talent to get to be your boss.  It comes down to people.  They either lead or they don’t.
  • The world is your oyster if you choose to see it that way.  There are a million motivational books out there that tell you to follow your dream and only do what you love.  Well, we all know there are bills to pay but when was the last time you reassessed what you have to offer the world?  Reframe yourself because no one else will.
  • When you were a teenager, if they had of told you that work was like that, what would you have you said? Go to that place.  Remember life before the brainwashing.
  • If you’re in a job and you feel trapped by it then it means they’ve succeeded.  It means you’re on the treadmill and they think you’re going to stay.  If they can keep a balance with you, that you’re at least performing and they’re paying you ok, then they just ‘park’ you and keep looking to do things faster, better, cheaper.

What you can do?

  • Use your gut more than your head
  • Surround yourself with people who enrich you not drain you
  • Scope what you’re good at and remind yourself daily
  • Look at the many ways you could earn your living – you’ll be surprised
  • Show grace in hostility but always play by your values
  • Learn about new and emerging jobs that may fulfil your needs and back pocket
  • Educate yourself – learning is a lifelong pursuit and it keeps your mind open and sharp
  • Change jobs

PS – I’m a career freelance. I left full time work at 23 after all that kind of stuff happened to me.  I don’t know how people survive this type of work. So I wrote this to ask them, and remind them. To remind you.