Are you in a “bad relationship” with your employer?

Maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s them. Recently I’ve worked with several clients who are finding it difficult to work with their boss; either a specific individual, or the organisation that employs them. Obviously this is a symptom of the pressure and times we live in, but still doesn’t mean that you just have to put up with it.

One client described how she suddenly realised that her interaction with her employer was just like a bad relationship, and she had had enough of those in her life, so it was time to break up.

Another client talked about unrealistic demands and increasing pressure to deliver, but at the same time, her boss would not give any clarity on measurable goals and targets, which made it all the more difficult to know what was expected.

Finally, another client talked about feeling undervalued and taken for granted, being shouted at and bullied… he feels that the things he previously enjoyed about working in the organisation, and the things the organisation now stands for, are no longer compatible with him and what he needs and values. He is finding this “mismatch” between his principles and what he is seeing on a day to day basis to be quite stressful, and is working on some strategies to help deal with it differently in the short term, but also to start looking at all of his options, including moving to another role.

So just like any relationship, maybe when the honeymoon period is over, it’s time to reassess what you value in yourself and your co-workers, and what values you expect from a potential employer. Even when you’re out of work, this can be a good approach to identify the best potential options for you, irrespective of what sector you are looking in.

So ask yourself three questions…

1 – What do you value in yourself? People sometimes find this pretty difficult, as it can be surprisingly tough to sum up what your values are; sometimes they are personality traits, sometimes habits, sometimes beliefs, sometimes skills. Usually though, people will use phrases like honesty, trust, communication, being proactive or whatever qualities and principles you feel strongly about.

2 – What do you value in others around you? Often these are similar to what you value in yourself, but we also like to have people around who complement (and compliment!) us; so if you’re naturally quiet and shy, you might want to have people who are fun to be with and help you to get out of your comfort zone now and again!

3 – What does (or would) the organisation you work with (or want to work with) value? How similar are these values to what you value, and the people you want to work with? This is often the clincher for people when assessing whether they want to stay with their current employer, or find a new role. When our values are being challenged on a day to day basis, we find it difficult to sustain over a long period.

Sure, there are many things that can keep us in a “bad” relationship… and sometimes “doing it for the sake of the children” can just be an excuse! Fear of the unknown, people telling you you should be glad with what you have, wanting to wait for the right moment, are all things that can hold you back. We often begin to blame and doubt ourselves and get into quite a negative mindset when we feel that the organisation is no longer the same as what we signed up for.

So you have a few choices; you can learn how to change your reactions and make the best of where you are, by working on how you respond to situations that press your buttons. It’s not easy, but often with coaching support people find this approach pays dividends in all aspects of their life.  You can develop an action plan to move onward and upward from where you are – or maybe something else entirely. Or you can do nothing and just keep on doing what you’ve always done and keep waiting. What’s it going to be?

Liz Barron +353 86 8162281

Check out our next six week open evening programme, starting March 28, to help you “Reach Your Personal Best in 2012”

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