This July 4th, our American Independence Day, I spent my time doing a little investment into my own independence.
That’s not how I planned to spend my time—it’s just the way it worked out. I had been applying for jobs and started thinking about what kind of people I want to work with, what kind of company culture I hope to find.
If I have learned anything so far in my life, it is to sit down and think about what I want versus what I don’t want, so that I have a clear vision of where I am going in any new venture.
I have made some poor choices in the past. I’m sure we all can identify, as life is all about making choices and learning how to make better ones, based on how things turn out.
In the area of work, I have often been motivated by purpose and goals, which is not a bad thing—until, it is a bad thing. I have stuck with those purposes and goals despite experiencing treatment and behavior that I would rather not have experienced.
I learned my lessons and with a heartfelt intention, I hope to avoid more uncomfortable potholes on the road of life.
People are fallible. Everyone. Makes. Mistakes.
No one is perfect. However, we have this tendency to treat people in authority as if they are not just as prone to error as the next one of us.
Why do we do this? Is it herd mentality? Is it programming from millennia of being taught to believe that leaders are divinely empowered? Is it fear of reprisal, punishment, or loss of status? Maybe it is all of these reasons and more.
In any case, a requirement for me now is to work for someone who admits mistakes, is approachable, and is willing to intervene on behalf of others when needed. I’ll commit to the support of my employer, willing to spend a large portion of my life energy on their well-being. In return, I want someone who will stand up for my rights, my choices, my safety, and my privacy, as far as they are properly and appropriately able to.
Look, I get it. We all have to work for a living and there are times when we have to take a job we don’t want. I’ve done that. What I want us to remember is this: don’t settle for misery.
The world is a huge place filled with opportunities. Sometimes, an employer wants the people that work for them to think that there isn’t another choice. Go on and let them think that—while finding another option.
I want for myself the same thing I want for others—to be treated with respect.
Do this exercise with me.
Write down situations that you have been in at work where you feel like you were not treated with respect.
What happened? Exactly what specifically caused you to be unhappy? Were your personal boundaries violated? Did someone go undisciplined for bad behavior? Was your schedule disregarded? Were you expected to contribute beyond normal workplace expectations?
Once pinpointed, we start to see our own way to plan for improvement. If we can’t get that improvement where we are now, we can plan for a move to a better environment.
In the United States, Independence Day is a day when we celebrate a rejection of being manipulated, of being controlled beyond reason, and of being made to feel like we don’t matter. It is a holiday fraught with contradictions and inadequacies.
The Fourth of July was more of a beginning than an accomplishment.
We can take the purpose of July 4th and use that energy to tally the failures of the past and use them to our benefit. If we each take note of what we want our independence in life to look like, from the perspective we have right now, we can each strive to create a better life.
That’s a reason to celebrate.