The following are approximately the first 1000 words from Chapter 5 of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate Your Boss.
You deserve what you get:
Searching for a black spider in a dark room
I can now confidently predict the top-ten questions that I would be asked after my public lectures. Invariably they include queries about the secrets of job-satisfaction and career development. People of all ages, and of all backgrounds, are finding it hard to understand how their work can complement their life. They admit that they do not have a vision for where they are heading. They say that they do not have a sense of purpose. They feel guilty for not engaging in passionate pursuits. They blame themselves for having lost their zest, and they accuse the company of losing the plot.
Even those in well-paid positions within booming industries feel vulnerable and insecure because they know that they are not adequately contributing to their organisation. All that they can do is wait helplessly for something to happen, yet they stagnate as the empty years slip away.
Employees become frightened about their future because they cannot set a direction, let alone see the vision. They think that their only strategy is to engage in further studies in the hope that additional qualifications might lead to a better career. They lose their confidence slowly, much like a punctured tyre loses air. Before they know it, they are depleted and helpless. Eventually, they lose their ability to negotiate, because they no longer believe in themselves. When they reach this point, they become averse to risk. Besides, they have already emptied their energy tank, giving their all to their employer. They have no fuel left to tend to their own nest, so they work doubly hard on the treadmill so that they cannot be accused of disloyalty. Some employees cannot see that they are disposable — until that unfathomable moment when they are dismissed, or retrenched, or eased out one way or another.
No matter how abusive their boss might be, they become numb to the torture because they do not dare to show signs of displeasure. They cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds them. They become professional beggars for financial and emotional sustenance. Like hostages who grow sympathetic to their captor, they become dependent on the boss to stroke their ego, no matter how brutally. Mind you, the only thing more disturbing than abusive employers is surrendered employees. Those who concede defeat will reason that they got what they deserved. Eventually, they attribute their failure to the company and its management, or to fate, or karma, or numerology, or astrology — in fact, to any external force that can explain their demise.
What do you deserve?
There is an old maxim that says you get what you deserve. If only that were true. Do the famine-stricken deserve relentless pain and sorrow? Are the forty million children who live in abject poverty and slavery deserving of their plight?
Every child deserves a loving family. Every family deserves a happy environment. Every society deserves peace. Every nation deserves prosperity. And why not?
Do you deserve a better job? Do you deserve a prosperous life packed with fun and adventure? Of course you do. Everyone deserves wonderful moments to fill the short amount of time we have on this planet. And why not?
Who among us would not feel deserving of a fabulous job? Who would not yearn for an energy-charged career? Who would not desire luxuries to share with loved ones?
The world offers its beauty and invites us to partake in its generosity. All that is required of us is to reciprocate. The law of reciprocity allows us to extract love when we inject affection, to extract peace when we inject happiness, and to extract wealth when we inject value. When we give our best, we can claim the best.
My brilliant career
Central to all of these riches is our career. It is the mechanism through which we toil lovingly so that we can be rewarded completely. Through our work, we can claim our worth. Through our labour, we can claim our rest. Through our craft, we can claim our position.
Our social structures have conditioned us to believe that our status in society hinges on a respectable career. A job is like a name-tag that reveals our identity.
Are you really engaged in a labour of love, or are you merely an employee whose primary objective is to race through the day so that you can get home on time? Is leaving work your main focus when starting work? Is concluding a call your principal goal when answering the telephone? Is finishing a task the main aim when starting it?
When your actions are activities that merely pass the time in anticipation of a brighter future, you can be assured that you will not be granted an enchanting future. Those whose current job is not rewarding, can be certain that their next job will not be rewarding. This means that if you are not happy at this moment, you will not be happy at a later moment because time and place do not govern happiness. The same goes for job-satisfaction; it has little to do with the job itself.
When the vision is blurred
If you are dissatisfied with your job, yet have a deep-seated desire to improve it, you might be wondering what you can do to find your path. You might be searching for something to grab your attention. You might even be willing to surrender your every waking moment to something that can excite you. Alas, you have racked your brain and are unable to find your passion. Nothing takes your fancy — well, nothing within your reach.
You are not alone in feeling that your career is non-existent. You might even still be a student, trying to find a way to embrace your course, without a clue about how your studies can help you to find a direction. Lacking vision (blindness) is one of the nine modern intangible diseases that are explained in Chapter 7, ‘Please cancel my disorder’.
When people ask for help to find an exciting career, I remind them that careers cannot be found because they must be built. There are no shortcuts. Do not confuse ‘position’ with ‘career’. Positions are irrelevant and are of no value. To assume that a position brings contentment is as erroneous as the assumption that living in a mansion yields a happy family.