Developing Healthy Expectations for Your Boss, Your Job, and Your Colleagues


They can really mess up your perspective on just about anything in life…especially work. Over the 50 years that we have been in business, we’ve employed a lot of people. Some of them have stuck around for quite a while. They’ve helped us build what we are today, a thriving, growing company with a strong presence in our community. Some of our employees have simply been “passing through” on their way to other opportunities.

Through the course of these 50 years, we’ve learned a few things about work, about employees, about what motivates them and about what makes a work environment healthy.

 What Are You Looking For? 

Ultimately, it comes down to expectations: a company’s expectations as well as an employee’s. And most often, expectations aren’t necessarily rooted in something realistic. Many times, employees want jobs that give them a corner office, Fridays off, and $100K a year, all the while letting them do work that gives them a tremendous sense of personal value and satisfaction.

Our expectations set us up for disappointment about 6 weeks into a new job…or however long it takes for the honeymoon of a new job to wear off.

Giving Your Boss a Pass

Your boss has a job to do, and it’s largely defined as: “Make the company more money.” If, as an employee, you can stop expecting your boss to make you happy, you’ll probably find that you can enjoy yourself at work a bit more. You should, instead, expect your boss to do his or her job. You should also do your best to help your boss do that job by doing your job well. But what you should never do is expect your boss to be something to you that he or she isn’t able to be. Your boss can’t make you happy.

Job Satisfaction: A Myth?

Many people want to find a job that brings them some sense of satisfaction. That’s completely normal. On one hand, there should be no reason that any job couldn’t offer at least some level of satisfaction. Even some of the worst jobs out there are filling a vital role in our society. On the other hand, if you’ve ever had a job that brought you no satisfaction whatsoever, you understand why people look for a job that is fulfilling.

But the idea that a job can ultimately help you to arrive at a place in life that you’ll be forever satisfied with is a myth. Job satisfaction exists only where your expectations are based in reality. The higher you climb on a corporate ladder, the more people are depending on you (and the higher you have to fall if things go poorly). The more money you make, the more expectations are on you. If the company is paying for your cell phone, they’re expecting you to answer it. If they’re paying for your car, they’re expecting you to travel.

If a job isn’t for you, there’s no shame in admitting that. Some people should never become accountants. It would mean nothing but financial trouble for them and for the company they work for. Others shouldn’t become musicians or carpenters or physicians. But knowing the expectations you should have on an employer, on a boss, and on a job will make a big difference when it comes to how you approach your workday.

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