Overcoming Crappy Workplaces
You’re sitting in your office or cube looking out a window thinking to yourself, “I hate this place. It sucks my energy. It adds nothing of importance to my life.” Imagine saying this and believing it will never change. Working for the company will always leave you empty.
Do you stay? Or do you look for a new gig somewhere else?
Many of us tolerate a miserable workplace longer than we’d care to admit.
Of course we all would say we’d leave. Right? We’d stand up for what is best for our overall happiness. Truth is, however, too many of us tolerate a miserable workplace longer than we’d care to admit. We hold on to a tucked away belief that it could improve.
A bright spot is hidden in this bleak, all-too-common workplace “suckiness” epidemic. It’s this: it’s believing the workplace will improve.
It turns out our brains are wired to believe a bad situation will improve.
Before you stop reading disappointed by the obviousness in my solution, let me explain.
It turns out our brains are wired to believe a bad situation will improve. Or that we will triumph over the bad guys. We need to believe that things can get better. It’s instinctual. It’s a matter of survival.
If we believed that the places, people and events that suck in life would not get better, we’d have little to live for. We’d waste passion.
In the context of our workplaces, if we believe crappy work environments will never improve, people would not hang on as long as they do, hoping for things to improve. (Of course there is a legitimate argument to be made that many should just let go and move on. That’s a different post, however.)
Hope is wonderful. It’s a survival mechanism. It’s not enough.
To return to the bright spot I mentioned earlier, I am appealing to all managers – executives to middle-managers – to stop hoping for things to get better in your workplace.
It’s time to get into action. Hope is wonderful. It’s a survival mechanism. It’s not enough. Look around at your people and what they accomplish. This will tell you if you’d relied on hope as a coping strategy for too long.
Imagine if you worked to make the workplace a source of joy for your employees.
I’ve previously written that we spend a third of our lives working. As a manager, as a human being, you deserve to make that third a meaningful part of your life. Imagine if you worked to make the workplace a source of joy for your employees how their third would occur for them: exciting, fulfilling, or even inspiring.
We all let things go on longer than they should. This includes letting our workplaces drain us. We each have great work inside us. It’s time to reveal it and unleash it in our workplaces.
Art by Enthorn Belegvalien