What do you expect from the job? These might include company’s benefit, pay, opportunities for growth, fair treatment, good working conditions, a satisfying job. These are your valued outcomes. While these inputs and outcomes listed may be easy to identify, others are not. For example, what did you list about your level of effort?
Everyone in the office marveled at Karen. If there were a superwoman, she was it. She got the toughest assignments and made them look easy. Admired by all, praised by her bosses, Karen was a wonder. Her co-workers were amazed how anyone could work so hard all the time. Karen knew how others viewed her – and she thought, “If they only knew.” Karen was a hard worker, a smart worker, with outstanding organizing skills – and while occasionally an assignment would cause her to turn up her effort, most of the time she was on cruise control with plenty of energy to spare. “If I worked as hard as I could, they would be amazed”, she thought.
Do you give 100% on the job? My guess is that if you do, you’re on your way to burnout. People work at different levels of effort. Some people give so much at the office there is nothing left when they get home. Others moderate their efforts so the job gets done but there is energy for other activities after work. Many of us find a happy medium that satisfies our employer and ourselves. Few people give it all each and every day.
So am I advocated coasting in our jobs? Of course not. Over time an employee will settle into a level of effort consistent with what’s needed to get the job done and individual factors, such as one’s need to achieve. This level will vary with each person, the job, and the situational factors of the job. But if you give your very best each and every moment of every day, there will be nothing in reserve when it is needed. There are times when we turn it on and other times when we work less hard. Employers and managers who push employees relentlessly will likely pay the price in stress-related medical costs, absenteeism, and turnover.
Revised from Decoding the Workplace, Chapter Seven, Organizational Socialization.
Image, "Superwoman", by Saydung89. Obtained from https://pixabay.com/vectors/superwoman-heroine-mother-woman-5709443/
© John Ballard, PhD, 2022. All rights reserved.
Decoding the Workplace “Is this a must-have for managers and would-be managers? Yes.” Academy of Management Learning & Education, June, 2018. Available as ebook, hardback, paperback, audiobook, and audio CD. The best-selling audiobook, and CD, are narrated by Timothy Andrés Pabon.