08/16/2010 02:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In These Times, Is Respect on the Job a Pipe Dream?

Dear Liz,

I think you should have told the lady to take the job and forget those two days off before her start date.

You should have told her:

You should have just started when the manager told you to start without question. Jobs are hard to get these days and who needs someone that is just starting telling you how it is going to be?

Revisit on the phone? Yeah, he probably doesn't want you now because you are too
bossy. Was it really a big deal for you to come in on those days? I think not.

Sorry, but I wouldn't want you to work for me. You have to realize everything
here is not perfect. A two week notice is sometimes is great, but if the company
needs you now, maybe not.

This is my opinion only, but I think you are starting out "not nice." You work
for them & you can't expect complete 50/50 respect. If you want to move up
sometimes you have to eat a little crow or be unemployed. It is a fantasy to
think employers are going to treat everyone with the utmost respect. What is
your goal? To find the perfect company to be respected at? Or, to work and make
money? I don't know about you, but I would put my respect on the back burner if
my family needs to eat. Maybe you are not that hungry.


Dear T,

Here in our group and in our workshops and online courses, I teach and promote
an idea called Career Altitude. It starts with the notion that we are in control
of our careers. If we don't respect ourselves, no one else will respect us. The
ramifications of that thinking are huge and powerful. If we enter a job search
under the frame "I'm not in power here, so I'd better get ready to grovel and
flex," we are done for. Job-search advisors across the country advise people to
'go with the flow' to get a job, but here, we advise them to stay in their power
and insist on basic items like respect from a prospective boss.

We get to decide whom to work with and for and how our talents and passions will
find expression on the job. If we begin with the idea that jobs are hard to find
and therefore we should grovel and cave, we are giving up our power to someone
(an employer) who has something (a job opportunity) that we feel has more power
than we do. I would never, ever promote that view, in a job search or in any
other human interaction.

If we can't expect "complete 50/50 respect" from our employers, can we possibly
respect ourselves? I teach the idea that we must respect ourselves enough to
expect employers to respect us, also.

Would we encourage a person to enter a romantic relationship, or stay in one,
where he or she wasn't respected? We would be horrified if someone said "My
partner treats me badly, but I have to stay in the relationship because he or
she has power, and I don't." We would encourage that person to get help, to take
classes, to join a group, get therapy and improve his or her situation. Why
would we feel differently if the abuse were happening on the job?

No matter how hungry we are, if we decide that getting a job means abdicating
our power and allowing ourselves to be disrespected, we are done. We've lost our
mojo and our altitude. There is no job worth that cost. I hope you stick around
in our group and keep reading the posts to see that we don't have to choose
between going hungry and becoming doormats.



Liz Ryan