Unmet expectations and the Chicken Little Effect
Isn't that what really lies underneath many of the alleged workplace "issues?"
"Businesses Must Close the Disengagement Gap"
"Six Fatal Flaws of Employee Compensation Programs"
"Managers Fail to Live Up to Expectations"
Each of these implies that there is some "way of being" that has been denied. That there is a huge chasm between "What is" and "What Should Be." That you and I are somehow being short-changed and we shouldn't put up with it any longer.
Closer examination will show that many of those headlines are generated on sites and blogs written by businesses that provide services in Employee Engagement, Compensation, and Management Training.
I'm all for improving one's condition in life. To do so, we have to have an accurate assessment of What Is Actually Possible, What Is Actually Probable, and What We're Willing To Do in all of this.
So I think an important question is:
Who Are We Allowing to Influence Our Expectations?
He notes that some parents, in a misguided quest to "build self-esteem," actually produce a houseful of "Little Emperors." Here's what he sees at college graduation/employment time:
So now we've got two undeniably powerful influences on expectations: Parents and Media. If either or both of those is inaccurate--regardless of the generation--it's understandable how any individual or group expectation can become skewed.
What Do You Expect and Why?
This is a reasonable and potentially life-changing question that can lead you to a genuine breakthrough, especially if you are feeling inexplicably discontented.
It took me nearly a lifetime to understand this about work:
The overarching concern of profit-making companies is to make a profit. They may genuinely want to be "people-oriented," "socially-conscious," and collaborative. But profits are the corporate equivalent of the blood running through human veins. No blood? Death.
When you and I start bleeding, we don't care (primarily) what the ER folks do as long as they stop it and keep us alive. When corporations start bleeding, they don't care (primarily) about what it takes to sustain life and live another day. That's why some folks are laid off and find themselves hired back 6 months later. Expecting that companies run by humans will behave in an other-than-human way under threat and duress is an unrealistic expectation.
It may feel inhumane; but the stimulus-response is quite human and, therefore, to be expected.
If you woke
up this morning alive and with the prospect of a full day ahead, you
were presented with a canvas on which to paint your life. And some expectations to go with it.
Did someone else somehow start filling in the space without consulting you first? If so, you'll be completing someone else's painting. Sooner or later you'll become frustrated and may not know why.
The weekend is upon us. What a perfect time to reflect and ask, "What do I really expect--and why do I expect it?"
Monday may be a lot more satisfying as a result.