“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” ~ Anonymous
I think we can agree that having a job you love is ideal. And, sure, even having a job you love can involve a lot of hard work — just ask a writer! — but it is hard work that is rewarding. Even if you are fortunate enough to land your dream job and work in it happily for decades, there’s more to that equation to ensure that your dream job does not turn into a nightmare. The job might be right, but your workplace might be wrong.
So, as we approach Thanksgiving, perhaps it is time to assess that for which you are thankful — or not — in your workplace. Looking back over my experiences at a number of different types of workplaces in various industries over four decades, I have created an idealized list of workplace policies and practices for which I either have been or would have been thankful. How do they match your ideal workplace?
I am thankful that…
- My company has a great on-boarding program that helped me become established and gain confidence as I settled into my new position. It included briefings on company policies, code of conduct, benefits, incentive programs and extra-curricular activities and events (such as blood drives and other community involvement projects); an overview of the organization chart; a tour of the facilities; meetings with my manager and some of my colleagues; assignment of and an introduction to a mentor (which I could change later if I wished); and a scheduled appointment with my HR rep a month after my start date to see how I am doing and answer any questions I might have.
- I work in an inclusive, optimistic, supportive and encouraging environment.
- I am respected for my integrity and ethics, as well as for my work, and my manager, colleagues and co-workers genuinely express their appreciation for my work as well as each other’s.
- My manager gives me frequent, honest and constructive feedback on my work throughout the year, as well as in my scheduled annual performance reviews.
- I am paid what I am worth according to industry standards as well as my experience, accomplishments and performance, with no gender, racial or other form of discrimination.
- My employer/company issues regular salary and merit increases, bonuses and other incentives to retain talent in a fair and honest manner.
- Employee benefits are generous and offered equitably. They include health and life insurance coverage, 401/403 K plans, pensions, tuition reimbursement, professional development and mentorship programs, and on/off-site programs that help support physical and mental health.
- Employee cash layouts are easy to report and promptly reimbursed.
- Work-life balance and integration are respected and honored by offering adequate vacation and personal time, sick days, flex time, family leave and work-from-home policies and child-care.
- Conventional business etiquette is practiced (check my Archives!), which makes my workplace a pleasant and productive place to learn and excel.
- My manager and team members communicate well by providing clear directions and instructions and encouraging questions and feedback.
- My company offers opportunities to contribute to change and improvements, and for career advancement.
- The process for negotiating for promotions, salary increases, bonuses, office space, time off, etc., is open, fair and welcoming.
- My company does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on account of gender, age, race, disability, sexual preference or identity, or bullying or intimidation for any reason by anyone.
- My company has a fair process for reporting complaints, and adheres to the letter and spirit of laws regarding security breaches, safety issues, accidents and injuries on the job, harassment, whistleblower complaints and the like.
- My manager and other organizational superiors have demonstrated their confidence in me by regularly giving me more responsibility, and promoting me accordingly.
- There is a formal and strong mentoring program that affords me one-on-one professional guidance.
- I am never pressured to contribute to corporate PACs or managers’ pet charities.
- My company offers opportunities for networking inside and outside, and encourages and funds memberships in professional organizations.
- I can work toward concrete goals that really count and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when they are achieved.
- My team leader explains and illustrates the big picture on every project and the roles that my work and that of my team members play in advancing how the company serves its employees, clients, customers, shareholders and other populations, the environment, community, etc.
- I have the latest technology and adequate funding to run my department and facilitate its best performance.
- My company offers a clean, comfortable and healthy workplace that includes ADA accessibility, ergonomic furniture, good air quality, proper lighting, adequate restroom facilities and a cafeteria that offers healthy choices.
If you can check off some, many, most or all of the above, then you might have landed in a nearly perfect situation for you! Congratulations! Perhaps you can add to this list?
However, if there are too many of the above that you could not check off, and that makes you feel not so thankful, then it might be time to reassess whether you are in the right workplace to perform your dream job.
A New Year is around the corner, and maybe with it a new workplace. Along with the delicious food you’ll be enjoying at Thanksgiving, you might want to make time for some food for thought, as well.
Until next time,