Every non-government job (government jobs will be addressed in another blog) in the world was created by the sweat, blood, and brains of someone who saw an opportunity to provide a good or service, and then was either successful enough or large enough at the onset, to require help. That “help” is what is called a job. That entrepreneur created, and thus owns that job. It is his to give to the person he sees fit to best accomplish the goals that he decides that position requires.
I will skip, for this blog, the part about government intervention in that decision making process, but let me make this part clear. The owners of the company, or in their proxy, the management of the company, make the decisions on who works for the company, who gets paid how much, and who gets promoted. Those decisions, combined with the overall business plan, and of course, the market, determines if the company succeeds or fails. You may have philosophical disagreements with this, but that does not make it less true (again skipping the government intervention aspects).
It is the responsibility of each and every person to make themselves needed by the company they want to or currently work for. The smart people try to accumulate additional skills to sell to their current or future employer at a greater cost. The employer, current or future, makes a decision based on need and if paying that extra cost will be covered by the extra benefit those employee skills bring.
It is not the responsibility of the company to give you a raise, because a calendar page has flipped. Nor should you be promoted to the next supervisor position because you are the most senior man. That said, most companies still go above and beyond this level by giving their employees additional benefits in the form of annual raises, vacation time, sick time, personal time, and holidays off. (Spare me the part about those being completely union-derived. Only 6% of the private sector is unionized. If business did not feel they needed to pay these benefits, they would be phasing them out)
There is also an altruistic part to it as well. Good companies also want to treat the people who make them the money, well. But being altruistic to the point of forsaking profits is the cruelest altruism possible. At some point the company runs out of money, and will have to close down and all jobs are then lost.
Are there bad companies, who treat their employees like dirt? Yeah, there are. Those fall into two categories; the soon to be defunct, and those who employ people with very few job skills. The latter group of companies also has low pay, low benefits, and high turnover. Why can those companies get away with that? Because there is no shortage of people with very few marketable job skills. A lot of those people are just starting their working career. You have to start somewhere, and at least these companies are giving you what you get, when you don’t get want you want; experience.
So, what is the moral of this story? It’s a new year. It’s up to you to make yourself as desirable as possible for an employer. If you are fortunate enough to be employed, learn a new skill that will make you promotable. Take on more responsibility, even without more pay. Trust me, someone is watching.
If you’re not employed and you have skills to market; do that. I don’t have a degree in marketing, but I can tell you online applications are worth much less than a dime a dozen. You might be required to fill them out, but a follow up phone call, and then another, and another, will get your name at least remembered. Your job is to get a job, and you should be working at it 8 hours a day.
If you don’t have marketable skills, you have to get them. That is not an option if you want to be employed. You might have to go to school. You might have to work at one of the less than desirable companies for low pay. But, if they hire you, do your best. Integrity is how you conduct yourself when you think no one is watching. Integrity will take you far, unless you are going into politics. Look to move up, or take the skills you get from Company Yuck and move on.
There is one other option. You can keep electing people who believe that outcomes, rather than opportunities should be equal. They will take someone else’s money and give it to you. Did they mention the part where the inevitable outcome of this, is that eventually everyone is equally unemployed, because everyone wants to be the one getting the money, instead of the one working to earn the money? No, I didn’t think they did.
Good Luck in 2012