You always hear about how over 50% of marriages are doomed to fail from the start. To anyone who is happily married, the statistic sounds grossly exaggerated. With several friends and acquaintances on the brink of the big ‘D-word,’ I’ve been thinking about the parallels and differences between the relationship we have with our significant other and the relationship we have with our jobs. Each couple seems to head for Splitsville for different reasons, yet there is a consistent theme: they all try to force it to work for too long.
We human beings seem to have a very difficult time ‘quitting while we’re ahead.’
Win $200 at the roulette table? Give it all back.
Talk about selling your home? While you were talking, prices have dropped.
Get laid off after years of ignoring signals? Exactly.
Your relationship with your employer isn’t all that different than a marriage (with less sex). You’ll have butterflies in your stomach as you court one another; times when you take each other for granted; and occasional flare up; and lots and lots of ups and downs.
There’s one major difference: You are NEVER married to your job. EVER.
You’re just long-term dating, just like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
On of the reasons a lifelong commitment rarely works is that, like many spouses, you employer can never truly be trusted. Just look at their track record. Layoffs, reorganizations, shakeups, threats, and more. And let’s be honest, you’ve been known to call in sick when you’re not, swipe supplies and use the Internet on company time. Where’s the trust? Where’s the love? No wonder the divorce rate is so high,
Since you are NOT married to your employer…
IT’S OK TO LOOK. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to have a solid relationship while holding a solid backup in reserve. When it comes to work, you should regularly be looking for a fall back. May it be by establishing a connection or sending out your resume, you should regularly scout out a new partner and keep them under wraps.
IT’S OK TO FIGHT BACK. Voicing your opinion and speaking your mind helps you maintain your individuality. Perhaps you’re known that couple where one person was so ‘shipped,’ that you had zero respect for them. If you disagree with your employer on a work issue, it’s important to say your piece. First, you wouldn’t want to be a passive push over. Second, addressing an issue immediately will help eliminate the risk that you will beat yourself up at a later date.
IT’S OK TO HOLD BACK. We’re trained to ‘share everything’ with our significant other – emotions, finances, etc. When it comes to your relationship with your employer, it’s OK to keep some stuff under wraps. Going backwards in relationships is much more difficult than moving forward. If you give it all up, it can be used against you in the future.
Just like a real marriage:
IT’S NOT OK TO CHEAT. You probably won’t give your boss an STD, but it’s still not fair to double dip. Your employer deserves all of your time and attention – that’s why they decided to ‘date’ you. Using company time for anything other than what you were hired to do is a ‘no no.’
IT’S NOT OK TO TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.
IT’S NOT OK TO SHUT DOWN EMOTIONALLY.
IT’S NOT OK TO BE IRREGULAR. Everyone is entitled to their feelings, regardless of what they are. It’s unfair to your partner if your moods swing wildly. Relationships often fail when one (or more) partner(s) are wildly unpredictable. No one wants a box of chocolates. We all want to know what we’re going to get.
When you accept a job, there is no ring, only a few vows. Respect them. Live them. And the day you no longer can – move on. Bailing out of any relationship gracefully takes work, but it’s something that’s worth the work.