Always be prepared... to quit... your job.
Always be prepared to quit your job!
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My philosophy to work is a bit different than perhaps many others'. I will work longer, under far more pressing duress and against more intransigent difficulty than many other people are prepared to contemplate facing against. I also am not amongst the victim-survivor class who tend to view a job as a desperately needed life raft, without which they would immediately die.
In the modern world we live in, it is all the more important not to view your job as a necessary prison or a fenced in time locked inhumane work camp. If you're employed by someone, in fact you are not merely an employee, you are a provider of a needed service. Your boss is your primary client. They are not by any means your lord and master, but rather someone who buys a product or service. They are someone who has bought into you, and what you can provide for them.
If you do the work you do for nothing other than to avoid being fired, counting down the hours, ever in fear of your vehement boss shouting at you, your life is additionally probably very, very, highly stressful.
You, as an individual, probably have a very different approach to clients however. Do you fear a client shouting at you? Does their raising their voice feel like the rug is being pulled out from under you, is the floor quickly approaching your unprotected face? Probably not. You probably also have a much higher tolerance for inappropriate behaviour from a client. They are not your life raft, you're not desperate to please them with sacrifice in the fruits of fear.
A job is a wonderful thing and it is something very hard to find for many people. However, if you view your work as a survivor's-only-option-life-raft, to be selfishly guarded and held onto for every moment, you're likely to treat it with the same divine fear, and under the same God forsaken stress as a shipwreck survivor might treat their last chance log rolling on the death besotted waves.
I personally believe that God put me where I am today. It might be bumpy seas or clear skies. Either way that log which is floating in the ocean, my job, is not my last chance of salvation. The stress of your job might leave you every day: crying out in your head 'I quit, I quit', and along with that 'I am certain today is the day I will be fired'. You will not drown if you are fired. You're not a survivor on the ocean, clinging on for dear life to a small splinter riddled piece of wood.
Often people are more terrified of their boss, than they are motivated to do a good job. If your boss is your superior and not your client, then your reputation with your boss might be much like a slave's reputation with their master. If however you view your boss as your primary client, you are far more likely to gauge your reputation with your boss, and to treat your boss in a professional manner. If you are a product, you need to be a product with a good reputation.
I like to treat my work as though I'm not working for my boss, but for God or some higher being who demands diligence and perfection. I get along very well with people in authority over me, but even if I did not get along well with them I would make sure that my standard of work was up to scratch in every way. The difference between working for a boss and working for a boss, all the while knowing and well-knowing, that your boss is not your master but rather your primary client, in the end comes down to your motivation. Are you motivated by fear, or rather by something much better then fear: the development of your personal brand and the selling of your services? The old adage of only following orders only stands up to scrutiny when your boss is the monstrous dragon of many a tale, seeking the decapitation of your head from your body, and chucking you out of windows in an old form of defenestration. You're far more likely to save your money producing company...