As a career coach specializing in communication, I’m presented with a wide spectrum of work stories. Some end in, “I don’t know why my boss hates me.” Variations on this are:
- My supervisor hates me
- The project manager hates me
- The recruiter seemed to hate me
- Everybody at work hates me
Of course, hate is an awfully big and painful word. Most often given some details, I realize hate isn’t the appropriate word. It’s more accurate to describe the situation as:
- I get a weird feeling from her
- There’s a lot of tension at the office
- I don’t like the way I’m treated
- I don’t get recognized for doing my job
So it’s not hate, but there are a lot of negative feelings between managers and staff, or business owners and employees. A lot of suspicious, unfriendly recruiters.
Where do these negative feelings come from? What could be the origin of so many employees feeling underappreciated and undervalued?
You probably have never done anything wrong at work, but consider all the people who have come before you. They trained your boss to be skeptical, distrusting, and irritated by the mistakes, waste, slacking and even outright lies some employees dole out.
I got a call on Sunday evening from a business owner as he was getting off the roof of his building, taking care of the endless chores associated with running a physical therapy practice. He had cleaned the exterior of the building, swept out the parking lot, folded towels, put away piles of files that were laying behind the front desk, and was about to take a shower before completing the charts he prepares each evening before he meets clients the next day.
“I pay a lot of people,” he said. “When they’re broke or in trouble, they come to me for loans – and I always say yes. I accommodate their school schedules, friends’ wedding plans that take them off shift, sick days and everything else they feel free to ask of me. They ask me for advice, and I always make time for them.”
“Now, I’m doing maintenance and chores that the cleaning crew left, my staff overlooked and it’s all things my clients see. Some days it’s really clear that no one really cares about me or this company. Maybe a few people do on occasion, but four years is a long time to learn that unless you’re hard on people, they take it easy.”
No, this doesn’t mean YOU take it easy at work. It just means people who can’t avoid being held accountable like a manager or business owner may be worn out by the staff who came before you.
Getting a weird vibe at work? Make a contract with yourself to do a really good job everyday and to look for one more thing to do, that’s outside your specific duties. Let your boss or the recruiter learn that you are that one in a million, the person who really understands that work is more than a paycheck.