Many years ago I used to work for one of the largest corporate restaurant chains in Canada as a General Manager. I hated working for them!
I didn’t like their ethics or their politics but going to work for them allowed me to pay my bills, so I slugged it out for 2 years.
Truthfully, I owe them a HUGE “thank you” because without going to work for them and them in turn stealing my soul, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today – and I love what I do these days!
This company didn’t promote people on talent and ability (and there were a lot of really talented people there), they promoted on “manipulatibility” (I just made that word up). Said in a better way, the less able you were to think for yourself, the more you towed the company line, the easier you were to manipulate the better this company was to work for.
I was an “outside the box thinker” and therefore it wasn’t going to work for me. One day after I had been transferred to a new restaurant the two regional managers came in to talk to me about a new company initiative. Truthfully I can’t remember what it was (probably that the lounge girls had to wear shorter skirts or something). I do remember they were dressed exactly the same – black dress shirts and beige pants – they didn’t have a uniform, they just liked to dress the same!
The “twins” went on a 10 minute rant about this new policy, explaining how great it is and why I need to buy in say things like “Corey Harlock needs to look in the mirror and…” all the while pointing at me with the mandatory “two finger point.” Yes, they always referred to people they were talking to in the 3rd person AND did the two finger point because the company president did it. Imitation is the highest form of flattery but at least they were consistent.
When they were done I remember saying, “I have listened to everything you said and I completely understand this new policy. I completely disagree with it.” That wasn’t going to work for them at all.
What? You are not allowed to disagree. The “twins” kept looking at each other in shock, they didn’t know what to do. They weren’t equipped for people to disagree. What you don’t know is, they were told exactly what to say before going store to store and speaking with the managers.
Here is what you say, and how to say it. Remember, not hired to think for themselves but deliver the president’s message.
Instead of fielding my concerns they started repeating themselves – word for word. It was unbelievable. I remember saying, “I get that, I heard you the first time and I still disagree with you.” My response still wasn’t going to work for them and eventually, they demanded I buy in and left.
At the time (it was just after 9-11) I needed a job and was really just going to work for the money. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t feel like I had any options and I thought “how bad can it be?”
The truth is, it can be really bad! Because I took a job to get a “job” I actually hurt my chances of getting back into the field I really loved, hotels. Once I started with this company, no hotel would look at me. I didn’t like my job and I worked long hours – I was completely unhappy at work and it hurt my home life. I wasn’t home much and when I was I was tired and unhappy. Coffee Break has a great article on how your job search can go wrong and you could end up going to work for the wrong company called “It’s time to change your job search strategy if…”
I can’t stress how important it is to do the work on your-self! Re-discover what you’ll be happy doing and why you are doing it. Once you do, the jobs that will allow you to go to work to fulfill your needs will start presenting themselves to you instead of you turning over rocks trying to find something. Remember, Comparison is the Thief of Happiness!