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Published:July 28th, 2011 11:02 EST
Are You Married to Your Job? ... But Still Looking!

Are You Married to Your Job? ... But Still Looking!

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

In the past, it was common for people to spend their entire careers, or at least 20 to 30 years, with one company. These men and women had incredible emotional connections with the companies for which they worked, and their organization`s corporate mission statements were imbedded in their hearts and minds. They were loyal to the company, had a passion for its product or service, and arrived early and stayed late if that`s what it took to get the job done.  

In fact, many of these employees spent more time at work than at home or building a life outside of work. There was often little separation between what they did professionally and who they were as people.  

In effect, employees of the past were highly engaged and committed to the companies that employed them...married to their jobs and sometimes horrible bosses, if you will...for better, for worse, for richer (financial booms), for poorer (hard times), in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish...`till retirement, downsizing, or death parted them. 

And what did these employees receive in return from their "spouses" (employers or horrible bosses)?  In the beginning, they received an engagement ring which included good pay, good benefits, pensions, appreciation, validation and advancement. But as the Industrial Age gave way to the Information Age, businesses had to change. Corporate reengineering became the golden key to success, and the new mandate from the top of the food chain was, "Do more with less." This led to the rug of corporate marriage stability being pulled from under the feet of the loyal soldiers who were fully engaged. 

Just like a marriage between a man and a woman, every professional marriage goes through seasons of change, periods of "better" and "worse." However, when the emotional commitment and emotional connection between boss and employee completely and permanently disintegrate, the marriage begins to crumble and one spouse often goes looking for a "love connection" someplace else. Why? They are sometimes professionally married to a horrible boss.  

That`s where we are today. MetLife`s Ninth Annual Study found that, as the economy slowly rebounds, 36% of employees surveyed hope to work for a different employer in the next 12 months. That`s right. If people are working for a horrible boss - they are going to march with their feet.

Feel the Love! 

I realize some of you are probably shocked by what I just said. But let me ask you...why are engagement and disengagement the buzzwords in today`s corporate circles? Because organizations expect their employees to fully engage their entire beings in building value for stockholders and stakeholders. Yet these same organizations often fail to ensure that they`re meeting their employees` professional marriage needs, like working with a brilliant boss that gets them. When that happens on a consistent basis, employees will "have an affair" on the company by either looking for employment elsewhere or, even worse, stay in the marriage while becoming completely disengaged. They work hard enough to keep a job and do just enough to keep from getting fired.  

Consider the following:

  • According to a survey by of 14,000 workers and almost 400 HR managers, economic growth coupled with increasing employment options have led to 65 percent of U.S. workers considering launching some sort of job search. "It doesn`t prove intent, but it does demonstrate a disposition to look," says Bill Coleman, VP of Compensation with
  • A recent Conference Board survey found that 40 percent of employees feel disconnected from their employers and 66 percent do not identify with their organization`s business goals.  

Sounds to me like a whole lot of professional marriages are headed for divorce! 

What is a caring, committed organization to do about this problem? Ensure that they have brilliant bosses doing all they can to keep employees happy.  

In fact, I have an incredible contest called "Brilliant Bosses" running right now, and I would like to know what makes your boss awesome.   

Please visit for more information.  

Simon T. Says...a professional marriage will last with brilliant bosses instead of horrible bosses!