In the consulting and training world, it is often said, “Give more value than you expect in payment.” I believe this principle applies to both the independent workforce as well as the employee work force.
You will always find opportunity when you seek ways to contribute value. This requires a mental shift that starts with an attitude of service and abundance, not at attitude of selfishness and entitlement.
Years ago, I engaged in a short conversation with a fellow employee. I will call him Fred. The company was experiencing a major transition involving structural changes. These changes included a significant number of layoffs. Due to accounting rules, the company designated most employees in our department with a transitional status. In reality, people were going to lose their job. If they stayed on until their release date, they would receive a generous severance package. A few of us were invited to stay with the company and we moved to a different building.
Fred was an older worker who served the company well for a number of years. He was not ready for retirement and would soon be facing an uphill battle to get a comparable job at his late career stage. He was moved into the new department, but remained a transitional employee. After a few weeks, I noticed that he was plodding along and not offering to do any additional work. In our culture, professional, and salaried, employees were expected to go beyond the 40-hour workweek. Everyone else in the new department was working at least 60 hours a week.
Fred’s disengaging stance was evident to all to see. He was sitting in the area designed for a secretary pool, located in the middle of the room in cubes. On one busy day, I took it upon myself to ask him why he would not ask how he could help. He came to work on time, went to lunch on time, and left on time. While we did not punch a clock, he took on the personality of a time clock. He simply said that if they company wanted more, they would need to pay him more.
The pay would have to come before the work.
At that moment, I knew Fred was heading toward the door. There would be no saving him. He was not interested in adding value beyond his current perception. After our conversation, I no longer saw him as a quality contributor, but as a passive mooch. I returned to my office knowing I would never receive any help from him and had no chance of enjoying dinner with my family that night.
Fred did find a new job. It was in the same company. His attitude and behavior dictated his direction. He moved from a well-paid salaried employee to a lower-paid clerical hourly employee. Eventually, he was released from that position as well and I never heard from him again.
Regardless of your job status, you can give more value than you expect in payment if you have the right attitude. It often requires patience for someone to see it. Eventually, someone will see if, even if it is in another department.
Do you agree that every employee should seek to give value beyond what may be expected? Feel free to provide an example of this principle.