FACING UP TO HOSTILE FORCES - building your resilience
News about jobs could be better right now. Massive reductions by Amazon, Meta and the tech industry set the tone. In the banking sector, Goldman Sachs poised to axe 3000 jobs, ramps up an unmistakable downward trend.
While Airbnb, 3M, Spotify, Lyft, and others have all enshrined permanent working-from-home (WFH) set-ups, many others, like Disney and Tesla, are bent on reversing the trend.
For example, Yahoo claims WFH means less innovation. Best Buy baulks at WFH as giving employees “too much freedom”. RLM Public Relations complains that people “slack off when working from home”, and Reddit points to a resulting “lack of coordination.”
If you’re seeking work or holding onto a job in this less favourable work environment, there's increased pressure on you. For instance, there's reduced scope for “quiet quitting”, in which you prefer a healthier lifestyle over working unsocial hours.
Employer resistance to favourable employee trends such as WFH, Quiet Quitting, or wanting a better lifestyle can include:
Enforced departures rather than demanding employees go the extra mile.
Lack of employer concern about mental health and well-being
Acceptance of a lack of belonging and inclusion among employees.
What can you do in this more bracing climate for employees when faced with such harmful forces? Are you a helpless pawn in the struggle between employees and those who provide the work? Or are there things you can do to strengthen your position as an employee?
PAIN POINTS: - if you’re in the trenches, whether in customer service or dealing with admin problems, you will view what’s happening from a critical perspective. To uncover these, employers try to understand the pain points in their organisation through surveys. Such as bottlenecks and other problems on the front line.
Consider sharing your insight on these and what might be done about them. You will stand out from the crowd as taking a more strategic approach to improvements.
SKILL BUILD: - your skills will prove a decisive factor in obtaining or preserving your job in the more challenging employment climate. Since you need to be fully aware of which new skills you should develop, talk to senior colleagues about this.
Essentially, you’re asking, “What new skills are you needing in the organisation, and how can I obtain these?”
ADDRESS STRESS: - stress at work increases the chances that your organisation may be behind in obtaining essential, critical feedback.
Can you suggest where unnecessary time pressures are damaging productivity? For example, is there excessive pressure to multitask? Or to juggle several projects simultaneously? This may prevent deliberate thinking and increase the likelihood of taking “mental shortcuts” and reverting to biases.
If you spot these happening, be sure to speak up about it.
DIVERSITY OF THINKING: - do you see any signs of a need for more diversity in thinking about work tasks? For example, how much effort goes into obtaining fresh insights about an issue. Or could there be groupthink in which no one actually challenges decisions?
If you see this happening, find ways to raise it in team meetings and with senior colleagues.
BULLYING: - bullying in organisations can create toxic environments and affect productivity. Employers may condemn such behaviour yet need help from employees like you to identify where it’s happening.
In building your reputation at work and strengthening your value to the employer, consider raising this issue if you see it occurring. Do this with care, though, without always naming names.
Everything we know about the workplace is changing at light speed. It’s tough keeping track. Sometimes, you need a fresh perspective on your job and career.
What does a career look like, and should you look beyond your present industry? What skills are you missing, and how valuable are the ones you already have?
Despite the gloomy prospects of countless job losses, you have more options than you think. When you contemplate the rest of this year, worry less about nailing down the trends and instead get creative.
Open your eyes to how you can contribute to your present organisation. And if that’s not working for you, start exploring new fields.