Friday, April 15, 2016

People First, Then Money, Then the Universe

Something difficult has been on my mind lately and I want to put it out there. I don’t want to seem bitter in writing about a negative topic. My intention isn’t to complain, but to spread awareness. In our society, the human element in the workplace can be lost. People’s feelings can be overlooked. Sometimes management needs to pause to consider the people the who company is responsible for by employing.

Since moving back to Florida six years ago, I’ve had a string of jobs that I wouldn’t return to. In all of the positions, I loved the missions and my role in them. I’ve also had a couple really good bosses who I looked to as mentors. But the employers/companies/institutions I worked for left bad impressions ranging from not so good to lawsuit-worthy bad. I don’t know why my luck seems to be so poor. And to clarify, I love my career and I love being part of the space community in Florida!

In the months before and after the birth of my daughter, as my previous position was coming to a close, I looked for other full-time opportunities and even applied to a couple. Even my experiences as an applicant were negative. I’m not an entitled millennial; I’m talking about decent common courtesy such as responding to communication and being honest. If a company can’t treat a potential employee well when they’re trying to woo her, then how will they treat an employee they already have?

Years ago when I used to watch the Suze Orman Show, I admired one of her catchphrases: People first (then money, then things). The financial guru gave advice about money, jobs, spending, and financial planning, but always made sure that the needs of people came before all other. It’s one of the two greatest commandments in Christianity – love your neighbor as yourself. It’s the golden rule we teach our children – treat others as you want to be treated. It seems that many employers have lost this basic tenant.

I stopped seeking full-time employment a couple of months ago when I realized that I was much happier working for myself. Working with individual clients gives me the ability to create and build relationships that remind us that we are people first. It also gives me the freedom to drop a client if I feel that integrity is absent.

A general plea to those in positions of authority and responsibility out there, in any field: Remember why we’re doing what we do. Remember who we’re doing it for. Remember the people who are making you and your company a success. Your greatest and most difficult job as a boss is to serve your employees.

It doesn’t matter how much we accomplish in space exploration and development or what kind of world-changing scientific discoveries we make if we forget that people are the reason why we do it all.

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