Are These Relationships Still Working For You?
The Great Resignation isn’t only for work. Realigning relationships outside of work is a good thing.
Please don’t go tell your mother I said you couldn’t be friends with her. Unless of course, she’s a wretched human and you actually think it’s time to part ways. Then blame me if it’s easier breaking the news to her.
We all know at least one person who has made changes to their work situation since that fateful week in March 2020, when the entire world shut down.
Some got laid off immediately, others were cut later when companies saw that we weren’t just going to bounce back. And then there are those who stayed.
They stayed because they needed the job, and many were grateful to have the employment as they saw their friends and colleagues fall by the wayside in job cuts. Fast forward a year later, and these folks are the ones who are jumping ship of their own volition.
They stayed. They were grateful. Then the employers decided to give them more work because they’d fired the workers who actually did this job or that one. It was a “cost saving measure.” Insert eye roll here. In old Union terms, the employers pulled a Speed Up on those who stayed. They asked for more work but without additional pay.
Another feature of the new COVID workplace was the ugliness of the Micro Manager. It’s true, they were there before, but never had their buttons been pushed to insist that they get every last ounce of work from each employee. One office I know of had a mandatory 4:30 pm staff meeting on Friday. Yes, Friday. The boss didn’t want a single one of them taking advantage of her and therefore, they’d have to show their faces on a Zoom call right before she dismissed them for the weekend.
From an even higher level on the food chain, CEOs and Human Resources departments fumbled and face planted their way through trying to appear as though they cared about the existing employees. Take the time you need if your loved one got COVID. But I need you to be available 24/7. True story. The disingenuous behavior was an ugly sight to behold.
Those who stayed got a paycheck, but they got a ton of abuse heaped on them by a very anxious and greedy leadership.
Enter the Great Resignation.
These employees had a point. There’s no crime in taking a hard look at your work relationships and making the necessary changes, even if that means leaving.
The same logic applies to your relationships outside of work.
Friends and Family
This pandemic has forced us to close ranks around the people we care about the most, as well as the people who help us the most. These aren’t always one in the same but reviewing the relationships will yield a few interesting observations.
In fact, we can use the same measures I mentioned above to evaluate our personal relationships.
Level of Effort
In the business world, people had to work longer hours to get the same paycheck. Has that been the case with your friend? Has he pulled a Speed Up on your friendship? Are you pulling extra hours talking him off the COVID ledge? I had one woman who hyper-focused on all that could go wrong during the shutdown. Didn’t matter what we were talking about, she somehow managed to bring it back to the doom and the gloom.
I finally cut her loose because I never felt heard. I never had the Talking Stick. She just called and used up my energy.
I’m not heartless. There’s nothing wrong with giving the people in your life the extra support during an extremely difficult time. We’ve all needed a bit of reassurance now and then. But are they there for you when it’s time for YOU to be talked off the ledge? Do you get the Talking Stick?
Remember the Micro Manager at work? Well she has a real life and it’s a nightmare. During normal times, pre-COVID, she’d be the one you took in small doses because she could only do it — whatever it was — her way. There was a timeframe, a particular location, you name it. You left her to her own devices because it worked for her, and for you.
But maybe she’s your sister or your mother-in-law. Someone in your close circle because of birth or another strange way that makes it impossible to kick her off the island. If you live in the same house with her because COVID reassigned us housemates, you probably hide in your room somedays just so you don’t have to hear her voice. She’s a real pain in the ass.
Perhaps you’ve fantasized about the world getting back to normal. Back to the good old days when you could just text her that you were busy and that was the end of it. In the pre-COVID days maybe the family gathering was the only time you saw her and then you could throw another family member in her way to save yourself.
This relationship could be an easy fix as we come out of lockdown. She might go back to her corner of the world where you are abused by her on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if not, it’s hard for me to advocate for keeping this one. I vote no. She gets no Mirror Ball. Send her home.
A lot of times, this person is somehow attached to your business life. She could be a former colleague, or someone you networked with. She has something you want or the other way around. You need a reference from her, or she’s the person who is connected to folks that make business happen. This might be the one person who is not in your inner Covid circle, but you’ve had to engage with her during the pandemic.
She’s not your boss, but the level of cageyness you have to exhibit around this one is equal to when you’re around a higher up. Soft gloves are needed here.
Like Human Resources at work, she says all the right things and knows she has to sound caring or attentive. She really could care less about your dog, but she’ll feign interest until she gets an opening. Then she asks — in a way you can’t say no — for the favor. Be it personal or professional, it will be couched in a way that makes it an act of friendship for you to help her.
Find another way.
Find another person to get what you need. Find someone who will meet you at a level of respect. Like some of the CEOs we encountered these past two years, she does not respect you. She only wants something from you.
It doesn’t matter if it’s at work or at home, care about the people in your inner circle. And if they don’t care about you, let them go.
If you like what you’re reading, please follow me. Thanks!