Changing perspectives on your job - Will you renew your boss for another season?
Within a single week two different friends of mine called me to talk about their job satisfaction. One didn't like the project they were working on and felt that when they were pitched the job they were sold one job but ended up doing another. The other friend felt like review time each year was a Musical Chairs-type parade of employees and they were left wondering "Will I be picked again this year? Will I still have a job next year?"
This is such a challenge to talk about as some of you may be out of a job and looking right now, but some of you may be in a job and thinking some of the same things as my two friends.
I'm pretty happy with my job. I like my boss and my team. Remote work is a challenge sometimes, but we are doing some great work. However, I never assume my job is granted. I never assume "Hey, I'm Scott Hanselman, I refer to myself in the third person and have Google Juice, I can't be replaced or canned."
At the same time, however, I DO feel good about my work and I think I DO provide value to my company. Therefore, I've changed my attitude about Annual Reviews. This isn't just the company's chance to review me, it's also my chance to review them.
Do I still want to work there?
My wife and I have been married 15 years. The joke is "She's decided to renew me for another season," just like TV ratings. Well, the Annual Review is my time to decide if *I* want to renew *my Employer* for another season. This is a small brain trick, or trivial change in thinking, but changes in thinking are the first step in changing your world view.
It also reinforces the impermanence of employment (and tech, and life, etc.) and makes it OK to broach the question. Do I still want to work here? And if you DO decide to "renew your boss for another season," remember you don't have to stay there forever. One season at a time, while it feeds your spirit. When it stops, you should stop too.
This helped my two friends, and I wonder if it helps you, too.
* LEGO Stormtroopers on a Wire by Pedro Vezini, used under Creative Commons.
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Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Kudos for calling out that we all have a choice to do what we love and not be unhappy day to day at work.
I say, give a new gig 90 days and if what they told you in the interview doesn't work out, get out and get on with your life. I am seeing first hand a disturbing trend in software employers where they will say almost anything to get you working with them and then turn around a few months or weeks later and reveal a different truth. Or in other words you find out what they didn't want to tell you. (No, really. Stuff like, "Yes we use Git", and point of fact they have Git with TFS on the road-map but don't actually use Git daily. Or, "No there is no travel", and then they ask you how you feel about flying to a client site every other week to camp out.) If there is not something else like a great team or money to compensate for the bad parts they fail, not you. Be aware that job hopping can affect your personal life dramatically. Other than that, go after your passion and work for people who deserve your talent and your time.
Anyway if your not happy you should always look for something else.
I wouldn' start working for a company that is holding such annual reviews in the first place. It's an anti-social attitude that leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time I hear about it, because it shows that companies don't build up the relationship to their employees on trust but excessive control nowadays. To a certain extend it's okay to look at your staff to find out if there goes something wrong and what can be improved, but instead of talking and listening to your employees what goes wrong and what could be better and giving them a chance to improve, they go the simple route of firing them.
We've become slaves of a system that was originally made to serve us, but it turned into a beast of it's own and now it's all about the system and not us - the people - anymore. The system has to live and survive, no matter how illogical that may be, no matter the cost. Problem displaced, problem solved.
As a result, I received little to no valuable feedback on my performance. I eventually realized that I needed to look around and find a better place to work. And I found one. Great post!
I feel appreciated, and I feel that my work is appreciated also. Everyone gets along with each other. At this point, I'm not leaving until the well runs dry, and judging by the length of my bug list, it's not going to be any time soon!
For the past 10-15 years (I'm 45), I've taken the approach that my boss/org works for me. The main benefit is that I never complain about outside influences since it's now my responsibility to provide solid expectations, resolve conflict, identify risks, etc.
If you find yourself in a position where you feel powerless, you MUST change. Get better educated, work on side projects, network, start your own business!, etc. Eventually you'll be able to position yourself in such a way that you're no longer behaving like a victim.
Bosses and organizations don't change, but you can.
However the real difficulty starts when you try to go from 'boss got a horrible review this year' to 'just turned in my resignation.' Your life has to fit a pretty specific profile in order to be able to do that without a lot of up-front preparation. I know; I turned in my resignation last week and now I'm going to drag the whole family north for the remainder of winter.
If you are in software, then the power is on YOUR side, not theirs.
If, in the end, you decide you want to stay, then you've made a conscious decision. All the better for both you and your employer!
Have you seen or heard Scott Dinsmore that talks about doing what can't not do?
Find him on this podcast:
Or Good Life Project
For future reference for other people:
@Orlando, I am not sure if you are attempting to be funny. If not, I would understand because Google Juice the framework appear more often in Google than the slang term.
But this isn't a sustainable, happy lifestyle. People aren't alive simply to work. Instead, we work for various reasons: fulfillment, satisfaction, pleasure, success, survival. If these needs aren't being met by your current position, speak up! Leave! Do something else! Change things up in an attempt to get back to equilibrium. An annual assessment is a good idea, but I don't think it's enough.
Perhaps quarterly or even monthly assessments are more appropriate. I know that meeting with your boss at these intervals is probably unrealistic, but you can at least self-reflect at that frequency to measure your equilibrium. Don't settle. You can do so much more.
To those out there that are afraid, don't be!
I am not alone: codingconfessional.com
If you enjoy your job, what ends up happening is a work/life "integration". I love programming and spending time with my co-workers... but I also make time for myself and family while I'm at work. I have them visit me, take time to call them, etc. I also work on personal goals when I'm at work. Similarly, I usually end up working on work at home in my free time- but when it's all part of one integrated life, it doesn't matter as much to me.
If my job didn't give me this flexibility, I would definitely think twice about my employment. That said, I love my job and definitely don't take it for granted :) Really nice to read all the comments here
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