Browsing the archives for the psychological contract tag.

Waiting for an engraved invitation to become a leader?

Leadership Development, Self-driven Leadership Development, Uncategorized

Are you waiting for someone at your company to recognize your brilliance?  And to tap you on the shoulder for a big promotion?  If you are, get comfortable with the status quo, because you’ll probably be waiting a long time.

A few lucky folks get labeled as high-potentials in succession planning and get more focused career attention.  The rest of us need to fend for ourselves.

In psychology, we talk about something called a “psychological contract” between an employer and an employee.  The psychological contract defines what an employer and an employee can expect from a working relationship.

Decades ago, the psychological contract for professionals was that a worker could graduate high school or college, join an organization, move up through the ranks and retire after 30 years with a gold watch and a pension. 

In the past few decades, the psychological contract has shifted.  Massive layoffs and re-structuring became common.  Skills became obsolete and employees were let go instead of re-trained.  Jobs were off-shored to cheaper international workers.

In the last two years, the shift has accelerated to light speed.  The recent recession changed some of the fundamental expectations of the economy and business.  Organizations cut staff and learned to be productive without those jobs.  Even as the economy slowly recovers, the jobs are not all coming back.  Employees are exhausted and frustrated with the extra workload.  Companies are struggling and looking for more cutbacks – employees are just another line item on the budget that can be cut.

So we find ourselves in a work world of no gold watches and no job security and no guarantees.

Depressing, huh?

Does that mean we should all quit? Of course not.  Most of us need to work to pay our bills.  Plus work can still be a fulfilling part of our lives.

Should we be victims and let ourselves be kicked while we’re down?  No – of course not.  That is not a good solution either.

The message here is that you need to wake up.  Develop enough organizational savvy to understand how companies run these days.

To be more secure and to be successful and have career advancement, you need to take charge of your own future.  You need to be smart and planful and aware.  You need to make things happen.

The self-driven leadership development model introduced in an earlier post highlights this need.  The title includes the phrase “self-driven” – meaning you actively make it happen.   The first step in the process is to “own your future”.

In today’s work world, the psychological contract is broken – you could say it is even annihilated.  You cannot sit back and wait to be taken care of – you have become an advocate for yourself.

If you are up for the challenge, my next post will discuss some things you can do to drive your career future.

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