Yesterday, while I was riding up in the elevator at work, I thought of something. I am and pretty much have always been a rather stoic worker, I just do my job and try to do it the best I can, but do not expect any sort of acknowledgment. This is good because for the most part, the only time my work is noticed or pointed out is when something is wrong. I can do a hundred things a day for weeks and do them all right and it’s the one thing I do wrong that gets attention. I guess most employers are like that. I spend most of my day alone, working on various projects, and all the while daydreaming. So in the elevator, I had a daydream that I was having a conversation with a coworker (a fictional coworker, for some reason) and I mentioned that I never write about work on my blog. The “coworker” replied “You have a blog?” and I answered “Yes, I have a whole life that doesn’t involve here.” I got to thinking about it and I do. I do not write about work, I do not even think about work after I leave. There are daily frustrations that I “process out” on the treadmill at the gym each evening, but I do not carry anything with me into my life. Work is not my identity.
I know I learned that lesson the hard way at Amazon. I worked hard to help build that company and made moderate advances in my position, but as soon as I was not what they wanted anymore, they discarded me without a second thought. I remember someone there telling me shortly before I left: “Don’t ever love a company because it can never love you back.” I had loved Amazon. I had wanted the best for Amazon and put it’s success before mine. I stayed loyal to Amazon long after I should have.
Neiman Marcus tried to make us all into “Company Men” with their endless pep rally meetings, worthless awards, and insincere and generic compliments. After being over-looked for two promotions and getting a 15 cent an hour raise at my one year review, I knew that the people in charge were not going to see or use or recognize the potential I possessed. So, I left. Later, far too much later, the people in charge were fired for what I can only assume was absolute incompetence. Unless you can fire someone for being really really insincere?
The bottom line is when you start a job, you are given an identification number. You are a number to them. Nothing more. Do not let them be more than a number to you. The number they are to you appears on your paycheck. Just like prostitutes have rules about not kissing their clients on the lips because it is too intimate and too much of a conveyance of love, neither should you. Never kiss your company on the lips because it won’t kiss you back.
- Know when to give up (cbsnews.com)