I remember a young man who sought my counsel recently about his present place of work. He told me he knew he could be earning higher in another employment, and that he did not believe he was being properly remunerated and the dignity of his person not respected. He concluded by saying that he would leave his present employment as soon as he gets a better offer.
So I asked, ‘are your present conditions of engagement, which you now complain bitterly about, in line with what you willingly signed and was at a time grateful for? ‘Very well,’ he responded. I asked him another simple question, ‘have you discussed your displeasure with your employers?’ But surprisingly, his response was complicated, ‘If I do, they may sack me,’ he responded, looking helpless. I said to him, ‘I do not think I should be your first point of call. It is your responsibility as a professional and a man of dignity and character to plead your cause with your employer first, with all gentleness of wisdom, decorum and unfettered candor.’
As the young man left my office, I thought to myself that this young man, like other small minded and weak hearted souls who behave like him, actually do to their employers what they don’t want their employers to do to them. I mean, he doesn’t want to be sacked but he is sacking his company. He doesn’t understand that you do not get the best out of life by seeking better offers, but by offering the best of yourself to your world as a husband, father, wife, mother, employee or employer, to the point that everyone you come in contact with is grateful for your exceptionality and difference. The fundamental question is, are his employers immune to the consequences of his action, simply because they are his employers? Does life closes its eyes against his misdeed because he claims to be the underdog in the relationship? I do not think so. I think we rise and fall on the seeds that we sow and it is important we audit our seeds carefully, before we pray for a harvest. It is not every harvest that is will be pleasant.
It is my well considered opinion that employees must learn to plead their cases with their employers, particularly when they are not happy with their jobs. When you do that, you give your employers the opportunity to know how your mind is working as the truth of your conscience, even if they have to fire you the next day. You may suffer, but you have proved your honor. And providence will amplify your honor by ensuring that with time, a greater testimony will be on your lips.
When you speak up, your employers may even discover that the issues you are raising is an oversight on their part, and they may be more than willing to not only improve your conditions of engagement, but to also remedy the past. You may become the priceless employee who actually opened their eyes to major flaws in their general human resources management or staff welfare, which will in turn lead to a revolution in the conditions of engagement of all the other members of staff. Your discomfort and pain may just be the pathway to a positive revolution in the organization as you speak up.
However, the other possibility as you speak up maybe that your employers believe they have done their best as employers of labor and that you are not realistic in your expectations. They may then decide to show you the way out by either dismissing you right away or advising you to resign your appointment. Whatever their response is, you have one thing going for you. Your have spoken the truth of your conscience. Your dignity, character and integrity are intact. It may take them many more years to see the point you are making and they may never see it. The most important thing is that you have done your duty to your conscience and to your employers.
What if you were actually wrong and unrealistic in your expectations, as they concluded? You have not also lost because you have erred on the side of conscience and truth, providence will show you your error, and teach you the lesson of contentment through a process. As I always say, you do not lose in life. Whatever price you pay for your mistake is your fee in the school of life, provided you allow it to guide your subsequent behavior. Would you rather suffer in silence, suppress the truth of your conscience, smear your dignity of human person, nurse unnecessary bitterness, and carry an excess luggage of avoidable disenchantment for the sake of saving your job? That’s too much pa price for your present employment and there is no remuneration or benefits that can pay for the emotional energy you are losing. You are allowing the loss of yourself and compromising your self-dignity in the process.
I think the greatest problems of management today are employees who deny the workplace and management the truth of their conscience because of their job security. It comes to a point when what you fail to call the attention of your employers to becomes an unbearable monster for the organization. Silence is selfish at this level. What most employees do in situations like these is to either leave the employment without notice or when they give notice, they cook up every other reason apart from the real reason why they are leaving. This is nothing but eloquent and shameful display of cheap character.
Remember, the goal of knowledge is for you to KNOW what you will STOP doing and what you will START doing. I await your comments here. GO!