The Biggest Engagement…Misnomer

misnomer is a term which suggests an interpretation that is known to be untrue. Such incorrect terms sometimes derived their names because of the form, action, or origin of the subject—becoming named popularly or widely referenced—long before their true natures were known.  Wikipedia

Even today we have a long lasting misnomer between employees and organizations. 

If I do well by my company then my company will do well by me.

I am amazed at how many people I meet and talk with that are surprised by their current circumstances.  I have heard people make statements like:

“I worked hard for others and provided great service to them all of my life and in a heartbeat they can take it all away.”

“Why me?  I did a great job.”

“I worked there for 10 years doesn’t that count for anything.”

“I could see them letting others go, but not me.  I gave them so much.”

These types of statements demonstrate that even though we intellectually understand this premise not to be true we still want to believe.  We forget that organizations are there to meet customer needs and by meeting those needs companies make money.  When significant shifts occur in our customer base, customer expectations, and our ability to make money everything is up for grabs. 

Why then do we fall into this trap?  We develop relationships.  We identify with our work.  We identify ourselves with our companies. 

What should we do?  We should identify ourselves more with an understanding of ourselves.  We need to be more clear and vigilant at defining our values and living by them each day.  We need to balance our personal and professional priorities more productively.  We need to understand what it means to manage our career rather than just our career development.  And lastly we need to understand how to manage our own personal engagement more productively and can more aptly deal with change.

We have left these issues to our managers, our companies, and our circumstances.  When we subjugate our personal well being, our engagement, and our career to others we become a victim.  And our last words become…

“I did well by my company and they screwed me.”

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2 thoughts on “The Biggest Engagement…Misnomer

  1. I needed this article and especially today. I fall into the trap you describe here. Many times I define myself by my company. Over the last few weeks I have been reevaluating how I define myself. Certainly I do feel that I work with a great team and for a really good company. However, that definition goes the other way as well. My company is measured to some extent by me. When I put myself out there everyday those I meet are judging my company by my performance to some extent. Yet we remain separate as well. Each day is a recommitment on my part to do my best and also my company commits to do the same. This partnership remains valid for as long as it is the best on both sides. The real test is what do I gain from the experience that will follow me the rest of my life.

  2. Pattie,

    That was well said and gets to the heart of the matter. It really needs to be about the gains you get that will follow you. You can still be a team player and better yourself at the same time. Awesome thoughts!

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