Should It Matter If You Feel Valued At Work?

I've had the pleasure of working with some of the best businesses in boston. I've learned a lot, found "my people", and navigated my way through responsibilities (like a boss, of course). Some roles were harder than others, but in each experience what stuck out to me the most was how companies took care of their staff.

You know when you see it - people dragging, coming in looking more haggard than the day before. Miserable. Hungry. Overworked. Underpaid. Asking for a personal day, getting the side eye. Challenged. Questioned.

Telling themselves,  "just power through..."

Early in my career I ran a division of young professionals. I was responsible for its calendar of events as well as managing its fundraising goals. The company went through some downsizing like most nonprofits of that day did, and staff were expected to step up and take on extra tasks. I didn't have any support staff so many of my days started with me out the door at 7 and home just before midnight.

Now, I'm going to say something and I want you to remember it... when you invest in what you care about, the effect is greater than you expect.

A few years later in another one of my jobs, I organized an event for a Los Angeles company and at the time was living in Boston. Because of the time difference, my hours were all over the place. I had people calling me at 1 and 2 in the morning, because it was only 10 or 11 pm on the west. And despite my working till the wee hours, I was still expected to show up at 9am every day. No exceptions.

What do you think i remember most about both jobs? 

During that first where I was pulling 14-16 hour days, I feel like what I should remember is being exhausted. but instead, I remember nights spent in fancy downtown restaurants engaging in deep conversations with the city's emerging leaders. Free bagels delivered to the office every Friday morning, and free cab vouchers given to me to ensure I made it home safely every night.

What do you think I remember about the second? I remember feeling exhausted, ignored, and undervalued. At the rate that people are breaking off to start their own businesses - and succeeding - it begs to question why is VALUE so difficult to institutionalize? 

Think about it, why aren't organizations more proactive when it comes to compensating their staff in ways that retain them. With compensation coming in so many forms these days, its hard to understand why startups are some of the only ones providing flexibility in their structure.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that when you invest in what you care about, it has ripple effects . 

In that second example, I eventually sought new employment. In the first example, I was given the opportunity to lead the department, as I moved on to new experiences they became references, and ten years later many of those then professional relationships are now personal friendships.

I felt So proud to represent that organization, to work hard for it, to support the people that were supporting me that I didn't care what they needed me to do. I was there to do it, because, when we feel valued in what we bring to the table, we go above and beyond. 

People want ownership of their lives. We're adults. If we're not feeling well, we don't want to have to ask permission or worry about risking our job. We want to rest. We work hard, we deserve it.

So how do we start the dialogue?

How do we build businesses that understand how to value their staff in ways they need? How do we as staff advocate for ourselves or make sure that the business we're partnering with respect how we define compensation? 

let's start here [comment below!]

--- > want to read more? click here: Why It’s Important to Feel Valued At Your Job

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