How do I rid myself of a bitter "fuck you" attitude I'm now feeling towards ANY future employer?
December 22, 2009 4:41 PM Subscribe
I am bitter towards companies in general, and that's not a useful attitude to have as (hopefully) a round of January interviews approach. Help me.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I was laid off more than a year ago. When I was laid off, I was told -- at some length -- about how the decision was not in any way, shape or form a reflection of how they felt about the job I had done for them. It was strictly based on seniority -- they were cutting many people that day, and of them, they were cutting the two most junior employees in the department in which I worked. I had been there for nearly three years, but I was still the second most junior employee in that department, and thus was shown the door. (Parenthetically, I have an educated guess that the local human resources employees who laid me off that day had next to no slack on who was selected; I am pretty sure the company's central office micromanaged precisely which cuts were made from where with no input from local HR. Some of the people let go elsewhere were bulwarks of that company who, if local HR had any input, would almost definitely have been kept.)
At the job prior to this last one from which I was laid off, I was fired. It was good that I got fired, because it shocked me into realizing a faulty tenet that I had been carrying around until then: that somehow, some inherent sense of justice in the universe meant that I was "owed" a place to go where I could give them my labors and they would give me money in return. I still don't think I did a poor job there, but there were a number of significantly distracting and very large-scale personal issues going on in my life that really prevented me from giving my all, and in retrospect, my firing was understandable, if not kind.
That changed at my next employer. I grew to actually really like that company. I devoted myself to my job, and brought all my skills and talents to it. I went above and beyond; I was constantly given sterling reviews and better-than-the-company's-average annual salary bumps. I was one of those guys that everyone feels fairly warmly towards. I was always willing to offer anyone a helping hand if I could possibly do it. I was never even asked to do it, but I gave them a lot of free overtime, cumulatively, figuring that being asked to stay late 20 minutes or so wasn't bad, especially as the company was equally flexible with the extremely occasional moments I needed a little give.
The tenet I began to form at this employer -- again, subconsciously -- was one I think a lot of people share. If you give an employer your best, and make yourself as invaluable and as good a "buy" for their salary money as possible, then you're a valuable asset and the company will accordingly continue employing you.
Now, it feels as if that can't be relied upon either, and the replacement proposition one might form from my experience is: "An employer will be happy to fire you the moment its bottom line is threatened. It has absolutely no interest in you other than as a cog in its processes; if you're a bad enough worker, you'll break the machine and then they'll fire you. But they don't care if you're a particularly good cog, either. They'll swap you out the moment they want to."
And, to some extent, I know that's true. But it's also a deeply cynical worldview that inclines one to go around each and every day with an attitude of "Fuck you, [employer]!" And not only does that incline you towards being a poor employee, that also is just a poisonous emotion to have in your psyche about the place where you'll spend eight-plus hours of each day. I really don't want that emotional baggage in my head each and every day. Some other stuff has had me a lot happier in general, so I really don't want to be renting brainspace to this emotion for an indefinite lease.
I've not been confronted with the question yet because companies have simply not been hiring for my position for most of the past year, so interviews have been near non-existent. That is already showing signs of significantly changing next month.
How do I do this? How can I go to an employer and interview with them and not feel so deeply hostile towards a company that, as of yet, will have done nothing to deserve it?