Posted: May 11, 2009
Today’s business jobs require dedication
Don't want to be married to your job? Then don't expect to keep itBy John Heckers
“I don’t want to be married to my job.” I’ve heard that in the past few years from person after person, some of them, unfortunately, who were working for me. Being over the hill myself, I’d like to say that I’ve heard this mostly from the young whippersnappers. I’d really like to, but I can’t… not entirely. The older workers phrase it as “work-life balance” or some such absurdity, but it’s the same exact thing. Sorry, folks, but this is not 2006 or 2007. And, stimulus package or not, some realities are not going away for the rest of this year or next. Probably not by 2011, either.
It is time for people in business jobs, especially at any executive level, to get very, very “real” about the demands of today’s economy and job market. Here is a dose of hard, cold reality and common sense.
1). Everyone has to “do more with less.” Sixty-hour weeks, nights and weekends are the norm, not the exception. Eighty-hour weeks are common. If you want to make anything more than $50K a year, much less $250K a year, get over wanting an active social life. You won’t have one.
2). Families who want to eat and pay the mortgage had better understand the demands of the job and take a back seat to it. Those who want loads of time with their families had better learn to live on much less money. This is a trade-off in almost any job in the business world. Get used to it and over it. Regardless of what you have been told, most of us cannot “have it all!”
3). You need to keep your emotions in check. People who are going through crises of any kind need to find some way to keep their emotions at a normal level. While employers are usually sympathetic for a while when someone is going through a crisis, they still have a business to run. Your falling apart or being distracted doesn’t cut it.
4). There are 10 people who would love to take your place. They’ll probably work faster and cheaper. If you don’t perform, and perform well, you’re going to be terminated and replaced with someone who will perform. This is business. If you wanted empathy, you should have been a minister or rabbi.
5). You can’t make mistakes. There is no room for mistakes in today’s business world. You must constantly pay attention and do what you are required to do.
6). You must show extreme initiative. If you want to remain employed (or get employed) you had better be prepared to show that you’re willing to go the “extra mile.” You must clearly show that you’re thinking ahead and figuring out ways to help the company. Companies can hire 100 people who do just what they’re told. People who think ahead are a rare commodity.
7). If you’re not dedicated 100 percent, you’re going to be canned. Companies don’t need you right now. You do need their paycheck. They expect dedication, long hours and at least the appearance of complete loyalty. Ignore this at your extreme peril.
8). If you want to own your own business or are coming in as a partner or owner of a small business, the business is your life. This is the price you pay for the freedom of being the owner.
I know that I’ll get nasty e-mails about this article. Understand that I don’t like it any more than you do. I’m merely describing the necessary level of work dedication, not approving of it. If your company is different — they don’t “get it” and will probably go out of business in this economic crisis. You’re going to work extra hours and have to do things that are difficult and unpleasant. Don’t whine about it. It is the economic reality of our time. Suck it up and get to work.
John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.