Why wasn’t I chosen? Why wasn’t I hired? Why was someone else promoted ahead of me? Why was I let go?
These questions have all crossed our minds at some point or another. And this happens whether you’re a fresh graduate or a veteran. Sometimes you simply can’t see where you went wrong.
I’ve done lots of hiring… as well as firing. Hiring is the fun part. Firing, not so much. Not for the person who is doing it and not for the person who got laid off. So what happened? What happened that led to you asking yourself those questions? Where exactly did you go wrong?
The answers are starkly obvious for the one who made the decision. Don’t get me wrong–it’s tough for the person who’s been given the boot, shown the door or been passed on for someone else. It’s never an easy decision–not even for the one who has to make it.
In my experience, what went wrong is always same old, same old. Here’s what probably went haywire.
1. I want work that makes me happy
Who doesn’t? Sometimes on the way there, you need to do some heavy lifting so that you’ve developed skills that make others happy as well. Stories of bad bosses are a dime a dozen–as are stories of lousy employees.
If you’re chronically avoiding tasks you don’t like, talking back to your boss or endlessly complaining when you’re given a task to do–people will start avoiding you or giving you the short end of the stick.
There is a job to do and it needs to get done. Some of it will make you happy. Some of it will make you downright miserable.
Suck it up and get on with it.
Not too long ago, we went through a bit of restructuring at a company I work at. When the time came for promoting staff, I was surprised to see that most of our then team had not kept abreast of the changes in the organisation. This was after we gave them tons of training and one-on-one coaching.
Research doesn’t end the moment you’re hired. Getting hired is just the beginning of a long journey with a said organisation. Past a certain point, employees have to educate themselves and show what they can do and how it benefits everyone else. Every organisation has its own culture and if you don’t even try to fit in–it will be noticed. This is not about inclusivity and diversity. I am 100% behind such initiatives.
This is about team members actually understanding our goals, the obstacles and challenges that we face as well as how they can contribute to the team.
Employees who have no idea what the organisation stands for will get screened outright. It’s that simple.
3. Asking the Right Questions
I cannot stress this enough. When an employee asks a question that is already in print, they’re just wasting my precious time. I understand that not everyone will function at 100% all the time, but once there’s a known track record of tardiness and/or laziness; it will be noticed.
Secondly, team members need to be mindful of who those questions are directed towards. Bothering your boss incessantly with nonsense questions is pretty much giving yourself a death sentence at the job. If it’s a question you can ask a colleague, you probably shouldn’t be asking your boss.
Your boss is a busy person. Respect their time.
4. Remember to Say Thank You
At another organisation I worked at, I discovered that some of the staff never wrote a thank-you note to their bosses–not even when they left. It is commonplace to disagree with your boss on a lot of things, but that never gives anyone the right to outright disrespect them or to disregard all formalities.
You’ll probably need your boss in the future–to write your references, to vouch for your character, or even to help you out in some unforeseen way. If you burn that bridge, you’re the one with the loss. Your boss will hire someone new and you’ll be left wondering what happened.
Perhaps you might move on someplace better where you’ll be significantly happier; but a certain level of etiquette should still be maintained. If you feel you’ve been wronged, there is no point in enacting revenge. It simply won’t help you in the future.
Take the high road. The universe will thank you for it.