How to find career happiness: Stop chasing the money

Rob Enderle

I was a headhunter myself for a period of time -- our job was to make people like this dissatisfied with their jobs so we could get paid a commission. We weren't selling happiness, we were pitching dissatisfaction. Those really good at it can make you hate a job that you never should have left.  

Layoffs: Be cautious of repeat offenders

Just a quick word about layoffs. Any company that does more than one a decade should be avoided like the plague. They increase stress, they destroy collaboration and create a back stabbing self-serving culture, and companies that use this tool a lot don't understand it and don't value employees (that's you). Why in the world would you work anyplace that didn't value you as a person?  

There is a right way and a wrong way to do a layoff, most do them the wrong way. Doing it right means cutting deep, cutting fast and separating those who were terminated from the rest of the population. Much like if you had to cut off your arm, you'd do it fast, you wouldn't start the cut, leave it there for a year chopping off a piece now and then.   Yet that is how most CEOs seem to be doing it now and it is brain dead stupid. There is no upside to working for stupid executives.  

Consider what you do have

So my advice is that if you love where you live, love your job and love your manager you need to realize you are likely better off right now than 99 percent of the folks out there. Don't let a headhunter make you unhappy and at least consider the value of what you have before you trade it off more cash.

On the other hand, working for idiots is no fun and if advancement is important to you (realize you'll generally trade off other things like friends and family) then jumping companies and jobs is generally your fastest path. However, it is also the riskiest path because you won't build up the kind of internal network you'd have if you stayed with the same firm.

Given that money isn't a great motivator, as a manager think about finding non-cash incentives to share with folks to motivate them and make every effort to see they are paid fairly and communicate those efforts. That way you are less likely to overinflate salaries and have to cut them destroying productivity and job satisfaction later on. If you have to cut, cut surgically and fast, realizing that it is better to have fewer people and salaries intact than to have a lot of disgruntled underperforming employees.  

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