How many of us would quit our jobs if we were asked to do something we didn’t agree with? Nothing illegal or unethical; just a task that was clearly a short-term fix that would have long-term ramifications - a task that would cause stress and frustration for many people?
Would you quit if you didn’t have another job lined up, and didn’t have a savings nest egg? What if you were the primary breadwinner for your family, and your country was in the midst of a recession? Well, not too long ago, my answer to that question was: yes.
Why? Because something needed to change…and, I had an idea. A big idea.
Ideal lines vs. real life
We each have a proverbial “line in the sand” - the point at which a situation moves from acceptable to unacceptable. As we age, we often find that our ‘line’ becomes blurred as our ideals increasingly come up against reality.
I’ve experienced moving my own line in my career. And, I have found myself in situations where I simply couldn’t move it any longer. I am not alone. I see the same struggle with many people I come into contact with, professionally and personally. And I see how this struggle negatively affects these individuals, their families and their organizations.
So why is this happening, and why is it so pervasive? The simple answer is: because we’re human. Faced with the complexity – and sometimes monotony – of everyday life, our actions in the moment don’t always align with our core values and beliefs. As a workforce, we are often unwilling to stick our necks out to make a bad situation better - or walk away when a toxic organization isn’t open to change. Instead, we disengage in order to cope with our decision to stay.
And why do we stay? Too much at stake: our jobs, our reputations, our livelihoods. We aren’t bad people; we have just lost our way.
Many companies have lost their way, too, and it’s time we start finding our way back. After quitting my job, I knew I needed to help make that happen. My big idea to create change was to focus my career on bringing people together to work differently—
The Generation Initiative is focused on creating change by bringing people together of diverse ages, talents and backgrounds to challenge, collaborate, explore and experiment with new approaches to doing business: to generate new ideas.
By challenging beliefs about what practices are “best,” what works and what doesn’t, we can make organizations successful and sustainable. Changing these beliefs can be difficult, even scary. But when we step back and look at a situation holistically - without preconceptions or personal agendas - we can let go of the things holding us back from dynamic, successful workplaces with engaged, energized employees. We can, in short, change the nature of work.
If you want to be part of the dialogue, or get your company involved in idea development, give us a call. Together we can change the psychology of corporate America, for ourselves and for many generations to come!
- Jane Walton