If you read my post from last week, you’ll know that I quit my most recent contracting role because of some nutty demands from my ex-employers (here’s the link if you want to catch up – http://www.heenapattni.co.uk/just-say/).
When I went in on Friday morning to hand my notice in (and I thank my lucky stars that as a contractor I only needed to give them one day’s notice), I got talking to “J”, the lady who sits opposite me. She was also handing her notice in that morning. She’s a permanent member of staff, and has been there four months. Apparently, she’d heard through the grapevine that she was the third person that morning to be parting ways with this particular Horroffice and that was before my news. A busy day for HR…
One we’d both done the deed we decided to go out for a long leisurely lunch.
Over some lunchtime vino “J” filled me in on her experiences over the last four months. “J” is an intelligent, capable woman, who has years of PA experience, having handled complex projects for previous employers. In her four months here she had been reduced to stationery monitor, topper-up of teas, coffees and other assorted beverages, and lunchtime sandwich buyer. I was actually sitting there last week when one of the head honchos strolled over with a twenty quid note, flashed it at “J” with details of his lunch order and told her to buy herself a bag of sweets as a treat. Yup – you heard that right. A bag of sweets. And he thought he was being generous. Mind you this is the same man who expected me to drop all attempts at a work-life balance and match his 14 hour days (without matching his six figure salary of course). I had to pinch myself, because for a minute I thought we’d somehow been teleported back to a 1959’s typing pool!
As we were discussing the terrible treatment we’d had “J” said something that struck a chord. She reckoned “It’s not about the money, although of course that’s important”. It’s about being valued and respected for your input. I completely agree with her. I’ve stayed in roles before where I haven’t been earning a great deal but where I’ve enjoyed the work and my bosses have acknowledged and appreciated my input. We all want a little recognition when we go above and beyond for our employers. We’re trading our time for their money, true, but we’re also trading our skills, expertise and enthusiasm with that. We give a little bit of ourselves and we want that acknowledged. I think if more employers realised that, and treated their employees accordingly, there might be a lot less handing in of notices and a lot more happy workers. And I’m pretty sure those happy workers would translate into a better run company which would translate into more profit – win-win!