If I Were The Boss…

I recently discovered an awesome website/blog called Pursuing Our Passion. It’s was founded by two friends who left their fancy shmancy jobs to, yeah you guessed it, pursue their passion and start their own business. The women, Jill and Jenn, believe that you should have a job you love and that treats you well. I really believe in this, and I think this idea is an awesome one. Jenn and Jill’s business, Dream Champs, is focused on matching people with great companies that are dedicated to providing a good environment for employees. Definitely check out both of those sites. They’re really inspiring.

I get an e-mail update from P.O.P. and I recently read this blog post. The post talks about the huge amount of unhappy workers in America, and how a good chunk of this is because employees are often treated like kids. The post also lists the traits that every good company should have which I found to be really interesting. Traits include:

-Create policies that encourage employees to set aside time to focus without interruption on their most important priorities, including long-term projects and more strategic and creative thinking. Ideally, give them a designated amount of time to pursue projects they’re especially passionate about and which have the potential to add value to the company.

-Define clear and specific expectations for what success looks like in any given job. Then, treat employees as adults by giving them as much autonomy as possible to choose when they work, where they do their work, and how best to get it accomplished. 

-Institute two-way performance reviews, so that employees not only receive regular feedback about how they’re doing, in ways that support their growth, but are also given the opportunity to provide feedback to their supervisors, anonymously if they so choose, to avoid recrimination.

So basically, an ideal workplace should be kind of like college. You should be given an assignment, and then you have to figure out how and when to get it done. You can work on things you’re really passionate about (like you did with extracurriculars in college) but you have to get your other work done too. Afterwards, you get a performance review (or grade on an assignment) but you also get to provide your boss with feedback, like you did when you reviewed your professor and your course at the end of the semester. I love that concept. I know when I first started my job, I experienced serious culture shock. I was so used to four years of college where I was assigned a paper and other homework and sent on my merry way. As long as I got my work done, it didn’t matter where or when I did it. I could do it at the bar at 2 a.m. I could do it after I got home from my show at the college radio station. If it was done on time and done well,  it didn’t matter. When you start your first job, all of a sudden you have to come in to work Monday-Friday from a certain time to another certain time. People are expecting you. They want to know where you’re going and what you’re doing. You have to sit at a desk. You can’t wear sweatpants. It’s so weird.

I think companies would benefit from, as much as possible, letting employees do work where they feel most creative and letting them be more independent. When I had my surgery and was out for two weeks, I did a lot of work from home. During that time I felt much more creative. I had a list of things to do and as long as I got them done on deadline it didn’t matter when I did them. I had to check in with my boss, but I didn’t need to be sitting at my desk for 8 hours. Now obviously you can’t have an entire  staff coming and going as they please. That would be chaos. But I think the focus should be on creativity. If an employee can easily work from home and that benefits him/her, then he/she should do it. Employees should be trusted to manage deadlines and work on their own. There should also be an emphasis on letting people explore their passions and having a life outside of work. That breeds happier employees and better productivity for the company.

This is especially important for new grads, who are the low men/women on the totem pole. When you start your first job, you expect to work a lot. That’s normal. But you should work a lot and be learning a lot too. You shouldn’t be simply slaving away for no purpose.

How do you guys feel about this article? How did you adjust to your first job? What would bring you more job satisfaction?

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