These days, say you’re in the midst of a weekends/nights stretch of work. The bosses keep piling work on your plate. Turn your head, LOOK. Another project showed up on your desk while you were looking away.
In a culture fueled by fear, where people are getting laid off right and left, this is a positive thing. Train your mind, reframe this stress and overtime into an entity called “job security.”
Not gonna go into the whole job security thing much more here. Plenty of more insight about that subject in my book.
I just want to tell you about a moment in time when Fearkiller wasn’t even a thought in my head. Before going further, I have to say that my $10/hr, part-time gigs I’ve done to make ends meet during The Great Recession provided lots of inspiration for my story. I can’t say as much as my old corporate life, but if anything, those jobs were this chance to interact with old forces that fear-driven cultures rely upon without feeling like I was shackled to that way of thinking. I was kind-of like an amateur, drinking-too-much sociologist.
Go back to May, 2008. I didn’t know what was up with the world, but I knew all of us were on something.
I was in the office of my brand-new supervisor for my brand-new part-time night/weekend job that I took on to make ends meet due to the Great Recession.
My new boss and I are shooting the breeze, I’m signing a few pieces of paperwork, when she starts to tell me about the company’s sense of “teamwork.”
The shift in her voice, I knew something was coming.
And what I received was a speech about sometimes, with events and such, I may be needed to come in, jump in and help out.
The speech, if it were put to me positively, would have gone something like, “We help each other here, and sometimes we may need you to put in some extra time for the team, cool?”
And I would have responded, “Absolutely.”
Instead, I got a speech. About this thing called “job security.”
No, that isn’t quite right. I got a speech about “job security…”
(Read my book. The DOTDOTDOTs will make sense.)
Keep in mind: for me, this was a weather-the-economic-storm, 20-hour-a-week gig. I found it on Craigslist. I wasn’t here to climb the ladder of this corporation. Which is why I could sit there and listen to this speech the way I did, as an observer of human nature as well as a new employee.
She sprung “job security…” on me, too. As a former corporate-cube-slave, I had heard that term WAY more than once. (It’s how your cancelled weekend is justified.)
Hearing it again, with the DOTDOTDOTs after it, sneaking Job Security up on me like that, it was like I was transported back to another moment in time. When motivation by threat was the way to go.
Negative reinforcement. Git some.
Sad part is, my supervisor was a person so hard-wired into this world that this was natural. She was somebody who got threatened instead of asked to do things her entire career, she was just continuing the practice.
Plus, she navigated through the job world as a single mother with no college education. So she was using her adaptive skills to fit into the work world that was supplying her with a paycheck to support her family. That I understand—my issues are with the system, not her. Whatever I saw, I’m sure it was all so second nature to her professional frame of mind that she had no clue what she sounded like.
Thought for the day: why are feelings of insecurity referred to as “job security”?
Who feels “secure” when they’re being asked to cancel that evening’s plans because something wasn’t well thought out by others?
Think: if the person in this situation truly felt secure, they would feel okay saying no, right?
If we are going to continue to live like this, let’s cut the crap and call it “job insecurity”.
It’s more accurate.
Also, a heads up: early next week I am going to post a new excerpt from my book.