Lots of employees see themselves as just “working for the man,” meaning they are working for the boss or owner in order to make them rich. Some have distorted perspectives about business owners which then leads toward resentment. Why do so many not understand some basics about working for someone?
Recently I spent seven years working, as an employee, for a brand new company. It started very small; 3 owners, two technicians in the field, and me doing all the book work and payroll from my home. After about 3 months we were up to 20 technicians, and then a couple of months later we rented a space and hired another person for the office.
It was a great experience for me to watch a company grow from 3 employees to nearly 80, doing around 10 million dollars worth of business a year. However, most never saw or even considered all the headaches, including the overhead, that comes with owning a business. It’s easy for some to think, “There’s lots of money coming in – those guys are just getting rich while I bust my back every day.”
Why Were You Hired?
Over the years, I had the opportunity to talk with different employees. I intentionally asked this question on a number of occasions: do you know why you were hired? I heard many answers, but never the one I was looking for. I told them straight out, “You were hired to make money for this company.”
Some were actually stunned, and had never considered that perspective. I explained people are not hired because someone feels sorry for them, but rather they are needed so that the company can maintain and grow. I told them, “If that doesn’t set right, you could start your own company, but be ready for all the headaches, including taxes, government mandates, and of course, the overhead.”
I Deserve A Raise!
I also shared with a number of employees if they wanted a raise, to earn it. Stunned again! Why do employees think they deserve a raise after a certain period of time just because they do what they were hired to do in the first place? I know there are companies that do give automatic pay raises based on time of employment, but I personally do not agree with this policy. I think when you add value, improve your skills, and save the company money, those are the kinds of things to be rewarded.
I encouraged others to expand their skill sets. Using their free time to learn other skills would add value and worth to themselves, as well as to the company. Many, especially the whiners and complainers, were content with finishing their work shift and that’s it until the next day when they were back on the job with the same whining and complaints.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some great guys who worked for us, but unfortunately, just a few. Meanwhile, the owners were three of the kindest people they could have ever worked for. I saw them often help out employees with finances and other matters, as well as forgive outright stupidity on many occasions.
Working For The Man
Sadly in the workforce today, there’s a lot of this mentality: “I’m working for the man.” No, you are not. You may be employed by someone, but you’re actually working for yourself. If you don’t take pride in your work, be honest, respect those you work for, and try to improve yourself, guess what? That’s on you!
The Bible talks about serving, not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God, being obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.
A Christian employee who endeavors to conduct his life according to the standard of the Bible would be a tremendous asset to any company. Perhaps some of these basic principles and perspectives on work should be taught early to our children.
[You might want to check out my presentation: Reducing Stress At Work]