“On Demand” Work
This is the way the workplace is moving. It has huge advantages to both workers and employers. Employers don’t have to maintain a workforce when times are slow, but they will want to hire only quality workers, as Tyler Waye says; employers only want employees who can be engaged and contribute to the culture of their workforce. They will also need to be realistic about paying well if they want to keep good producers available for their work. Wendy Giuffre says, the contract workforce is needed and very important, but they are typically also the first to go when times get tough. For these instances, contractors need to be prepared for the ebbs and flows, workload, and money.
Workers can think of themselves as consultants who come in and focus on a project and then have time off. They can have more flexibility as well as autonomy/control over their time. They just have to manage their cash-flow variable and deal with the emotions around uncertainty of workflow (i.e. anxiety, fear, etc.) and ebbs and flows. I also think that technology makes it that much easier (for certain tasks) to work from different locations instead of having to physically be in the same spot for work every day.
So success on both sides depends on seeing this trend in a positive light and figuring out what the
opportunity is versus holding on to old patterns of workplace/worker—there is no winner or loser. This topic is a societal conversation because employer and employee need to consider what they owe each other.
Anyone in the professional world should be on LinkedIn—it is one of the first places employers will look to learn about you in order to decide whether or not they want to hire a person with your personality, says Giuffre. As with everything that you put online, understand that everyone has access to it. My philosophy is that I don’t put anything out there that I don’t feel comfortable owning or can’t back up. Everything online contributes to the representation of your story and context of who you are. In Waye’s words, you want to “post the truth…with a storyline”, so think about how you want to be represented. People also respond very well to authenticity (virtually and in the real world), so be your true self and don’t try to be something you’re not, or present yourself as perfect. We tend to see through that sort of thing and it can hurt your chances of connecting with the right employer. Skills can be taught and learned, but the same cannot necessarily be said about personality. In general, it’s good to remember that employers are also looking at all your other social media (or anything else that’s public) to get a sense of whom you are and if you’ll be a good fit.
Bad bosses are the number one predictor of workplace injury. Your interaction with your superiors affects both your health and your performance. This can also bleed over into your other relationships as well. One study found that over 25% of people surveyed had experienced workplace bullying or a difficult relationship with their superior, and another 21% knew someone who had gone through this (US numbers). Of those who had experienced bullying, 80% of victims surveyed said they had debilitating anxiety, 49% had clinical depression, 30% had PTSD, and 29% had contemplated suicide. Clearly this is a huge issue. It also costs the employer in productivity, turnover, and low morale.
If a boss crosses the line or abuse you in any way, go to HR—period. But if it is not to that extent, the way to deal with this is to first try to discuss concerns with your boss—have HR as plan B. You definitely don’t deserve to be bullied. Alberta Labour Standards is a good resource where workers can learn about their rights. You can always keep getting out as an idea, as well. The big thing is to stay calm and address things early—before you get so stressed that you react badly and make the situation worse. You can start looking for new jobs in or out of the organization, but you do not want the finger to be pointed back at you. Things like water cooler-talk and nasty emails will point the finger back at you, says Waye.
Here are some more things you should definitely not do:
- Don’t go head-to-head with your boss in defiance of your boss’ directives and goals.
- Don’t go over the boss’ head to their supervisor or HR before talking to them directly.
- Don’t speak negatively about your boss to colleagues.
- Don’t post criticisms in emails or on social media.
- Don’t keep complaining about the same problems to your boss.
- Don’t give the boss vague feedback that emphasizes your dissatisfaction with their leadership skills.
At the end of the day, you need to remember that your job is to do what you were hired to do and to make the lives of your superiors easier (thus easier on you too)—for this, you get paid. If this arrangement is not satisfactory for you, then definitely look around. Stand up for your rights to be treated with respect, but also realize that your current job may not be the right situation for you. Remember that your biggest asset is you and your well-being—not the job.
Health, Love, Happiness, Success
Dr. Ganz Ferrance