Why Jobs Make Me Twitchy

I don’t want a job.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to work. It could be my strong Ukrainian work ethic or it might just be that I am somewhat defined by my work and want to make a difference. Regardless, I work hard and put in far more hours than most people would consider typical or healthy.

Despite all that, I’ve recently concluded I’m going to have to stick to being self-employed because I’m not especially attracted to most of the jobs I’m seeing. Of course, it is tempting to think about a consistent pay cheque, not to mention benefits, regular work hours and paid vacations.

Be that as it may, there are still reasons that make me a tad twitchy when I read job postings or even think about looking for a job.

First of all, most jobs fall within a traditional hierarchy where direction is determined by those at the senior level. The challenge is that the senior level is often removed from stakeholders so sometimes have the least amount of information needed to make that particular decision. But, they make it anyway because that’s their job.

I’m also not seeing a lot of employers who empower employees to make the decisions that would contribute to their sense of ownership and responsibility. Those hierarchies also make it really hard to maximize the talent and passion of each employee because there are just too darned many other things to do and red tape to unwind that are part of their job description.

Now that I’ve been self-employed for 11 years, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to work again in a place where hires, fires, and promotions are based more on seniority than they are by merit. I’ve seen too many people who seem to have a sense of entitlement simply because they’ve worked somewhere the longest, even though there were often more talented and effective employees who had been there for less time.

I’m also now very leery about the priority most employers seem to be placing on the education, skills, and experience showing on a resume. After all, you can always teach skills. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to teach a work ethic, or how to be a quick-learner who is resourceful, creative, a team player etc. Since the challenges in today’s workplaces are becoming more and more complex, isn’t it important to hire at least some people who think in a non-traditional way?

It also seems there aren’t enough employers who are comfortable with new ideas and new approaches. Too often there seems to be a lack of willingness to tackle the ambiguity, uncertainty, and chaos it sometimes takes to get to new ways of thinking, collaborating, and innovating.

While it is important to get a job if you’re lacking experience, the truth is most jobs provide their most extensive learning in the beginning. After that it seems more typical for there to be a lot of repetition of the same experiences. There are many who find repetition to be twitchy-inducing and way too risky. Like me, they’d rather be in a place where there are opportunities to learn, stretch, and grow every day. Oh yes, and the autonomy to be able to do that is also pretty important.

Of course, most people also believe that a job is the most secure way to generate income. But you can’t have security if you don’t have control, and employees don’t typically have a lot of control.

Lastly, the part of a job that makes me twitch the most is that sometimes you have to work with people you may not respect, share values with, or especially like. When you are self employed you typically have the option of walking away. Plus, the only boss you have to respect, as well as blame, is yourself.

Posted on 09-13-22

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