This post is part two of how we abandon ourselves at work. Go back and read part one if you haven’t yet.
How could you be abandoning your chance of happiness at work?
Abandoning our physical selves.
In a relationship, sometimes we will do physical things we don’t want to do, for the sake of the relationship. The same is true of our jobs.
Have you ever had a job that wanted you to work over 40 hours a week without additional compensation? Forgo bathroom breaks? Forgo your lunch hour? Eat fast food at your desk? Forgo leaving on time at 5pm?
I had a nonprofit boss who used to yell, “Why was I the only one here at 7pm last night?” He expected everyone to work 60-80 hours a week, even if there was no need to do so. He wanted us to abandon our physical selves for the job. To forgo dinner, lunch, or breaks, just because he said so. This wasn’t in the job description. This was the organizational culture.
The social workers all decided, as a group, to leave on time, at 5pm. And meanwhile, like a chump, I stayed until 9pm. It was an at-will work environment. I thought, well, I don’t want to get fired. So what could I do? Well, I could have made a different choice. We all have choices. My advice? Work your proper hours.
I’m not saying your job is a bad job and you should leave if everyone stays past 5pm. I’m saying, will it serve you, in the long run, to actually stay past 5pm every day? Are you going to get a raise? A promotion? When was the last time a person at your nonprofit job got a raise or was promoted? Ask yourself, what did they have to do, to get that?
Abandoning our emotional selves.
Have you ever had a job that wanted you to forgo vacation time, family time, or check your emails or text messages on the weekend? If so, maybe they asked you to just stay late, just this once, but then it became something that happened all the time. And then when you tried to break out of this behavior, you got the evil eye from other people who keep working?
When the organizational culture does not value a balanced approach to work, with friend time, family time, or enough vacation to rest and recharge, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can be different without repercussions. You will most likely have to get 3-4 people at work who agree with you to speak up with you, or find another job.
Abandoning our relational selves.
What does it mean to abandon your relational self? It means when your boss yells at you, not speaking up to that person and asking them to stop yelling at you. Or when your boss says stay late, do my work for me, or blames you for something that is not your fault, and you just stand there and take it, and you don’t speak up.
If you refuse to speak up for yourself in your job, and instead become complacent or resistant, you are going to start resenting your job. When you abandon yourself to your job, and artificially comply with things you don’t agree with, you can create a lack of trust that leads to conflict and disconnection.
If you’ve looked at this article and seen yourself mirrored here, don’t beat yourself up.
It’s a very strong impulse. We want people’s acceptance. We are trained to get approval, acceptance and be part of the group.
What if we were able to have a truly healthy relationship with our work, instead of a dysfunctional one?
Would you like to speak your truth more?
What if we lived in a world where you could speak your mind to your boss without fearing getting fired?
Would you like to spend less time at work?
What if we were in a nonprofit work environment where leaving at 5pm was encouraged?
Would you like to be consulting on the side?
What if we could do side projects or consulting without repercussions?
Would you like a more leisurely life?
What if everyone took an hour long lunch break at your nonprofit job?
Would you like to make more money? What if we got raises if the nonprofit made more money one year?
Would you like to be in nature more?
What if we got 7 weeks of vacation every year?
Then you could do more of this.
I have news for you. We won’t get any of these things unless we come together in a community and demand them.
We won’t change the cultures in our nonprofits unless we speak up.
What are you silent about? What needs to be said?
How do you change your mindset about speaking up?
What do you do if your boss doesn’t listen to you?
When you name it, you can claim it. Which of these 20 negative traits holds your boss back?
What do you think? Is there a place where your relationship with your job is out of balance?
What are you feeling when you read this?