It wasn’t an overly taxing gig; truth be told the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities at Acme Corporation (as we’ll call it) were fairly easy. Every now and again I got to stretch myself and do something new and/or innovative and/or exciting but, for all practical purposes, it was the HR equivalent of assembling widgets on a factory line. (No slight to widget makers BTW; I’ve done an HR tour in that setting and it can be damn hard work).
I would come home at the end of the day from Acme Corporation just totally wiped. Bear in mind this was probably, when all is said and done, the least strenuous job I ever had in my life. This was 8-5 with no excess hours, no expectation of answering calls or emails or smoke signals after hours and no need to worry about catching up on the weekends. Of course there was no flexibility and very little autonomy but, once again, “punch-in and punch-out?” Sweet-sounding gig for those who are over-burdened…isn’t it?
Well..no. It’s not.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Part of what made that Acme Corporation gig so utterly exhausting was the lack of any human-connectiveness from person-to-person (or team-to-team). I mean I can barely put into words how staid and quiet and serious everything was; even “fun” activities were a chore. It was the traditional top-down hierarchical model and, let me tell you, nothing happened without the CEO signing off on it. A complete 180 from the current experience I have working freelance with clients in the financial services space, like my favorite: a boutique borrowing and payments company in the FinTech space known as Sambla.
One time a senior leader did an impromptu “thank you” treat/snack/let’s gather at the coffee pot moment for his 10 person department; the sort of thing that good managers do regularly and instinctively. No big deal, am I right? The CEO got wind of this and was furious – I mean f-u-r-i-o-u-s. Why? Power? Not something being seen as flowing from the CEO’s largesse? I dunno. But it stunk. And, obviously, I left that environment a long time ago.
Cuz I’m a human being. And I didn’t want to work that way.
I bet you don’t either.
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