The average workweek is even longer today. A recent Gallup poll tells us we now work 47 hours a week on average. That is a significant portion of our week spent doing a job we either love or hate. One way or another, our work has an effect on every other area of our life.
I had worked 13 different jobs before I started my first business. Some were OK, and others made me miserable. I had some good bosses and some that I wanted to tell how I felt about them. I was an unhappy employee for a lot of my working career. Here are five things I and other unhappy employees want our companies to know.
1. I'm more than a number. When you look at us as the amount of money we can make you or a number on our employee ID, we feel it. We are more than numbers; we are real people who have a life, family, and a desire to make a better life for ourselves. Treat us like people and we will work hard in our jobs.
2. You can make things better. We understand that there are things that are out of your control. However, there are things you can do to make work less miserable for all of us. Treating us with respect, and as if we're more than a number, is a great start to making things better.
3. Your words help or hurt. We understand you're in charge, but you should understand how your words affect us. Making us feel like we're low does not help our performance. Kind words and professional words don't take any more effort but make a big difference.
4. Leadership is more than words. Actions speak louder than words. You tell us what to do by how you lead. Strong leadership comes from a place of service. Don't try to beat us into submission. Lead and we will follow.
5. It's takes teamwork to build a company. One person can only build a company on their own for so long. It takes a team of people who are willing and committed to what the company's vision is. When you treat employees poorly, you affect that spirit of teamwork.
If you're an unhappy employee, know that you can do something about your work situation. I'm not saying it will be easy, but you can find or create work you love. Life is short and time is something we'll never get back. 47 hours a week is too long to spend miserable. It will stress you out and could lead to health problems.
I broke free. I worked for a boss that would consistently make me feel like nothing. It took three years, but I escaped and now wake up every day doing what I love: writing. It was a struggle that involved a lot of sacrifices, but it was worth it to live this dream life now. I was a bread vendor from Wisconsin who didn't believe I could escape. I did and know you can, too.
If you lead or own a company, treat your employees well, and your business will grow. Real leadership comes from a place of working with those you lead. Work doesn't have to be miserable. I'm not saying it will always be rainbows, but it doesn't have to feel like torture.
Photo Credit: Flickr/ Billy Wilson