I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help!
Dark Side for Employees , Introduction / November 5, 2018

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help! You’re a salesclerk when you should be in the marketing department. Doing background research rather than writing the strategy. Being an assistant rather than a paralegal. Whatever it is, you’re in a job which not only doesn’t tax your skills but is downright boring.  You are underemployed. You’d like to contribute at a higher level (with more money, of course). Unfortunately, early jobs in the work force often are well beneath your talents. This can also happen in summer jobs or short university job placements. How you do the job where you’re underemployed can make things worse The problem is sometimes exacerbated, however, by how people decide to do the job. Perhaps to signal their frustration, they choose to do one or all of the following: Do the work slowly or poorly; Do the report using the top page of the Google search rather than delving more deeply; Avoid checking the inventory by telling customers that everything is out on the floor; ‘Forget’ to do the menial tasks you’ve been assigned; Let co-workers pick up your slack; Communicate the work is beneath you; Talk about what you could do if the bosses…

Bringing Yourself to Work

Bringing Yourself to Work If you are just starting out in your career, this phrase might not mean much to you. Of course you bring yourself to work. What else could you do? However, if you’ve worked for any length of time, it might have meaning. The longer you are employed, the more you come to realize that you can’t necessarily do at work what you might do in your personal life. The pressures of work Work requires a number of adjustments to what you might typically do. You have to bite your tongue. You need to be careful how you say things. ‘What a stupid idea’ will mostly garner resentment. You need to learn to say, ‘What an interesting thought.’ You have to be a little respectful of your boss and/or the hierarchy. Where at home you might tell your significant other, ‘you’re full of it,’ you can’t usually do that with your boss. Some implicit deference is required even if you don’t feel that way. You have to toe the party line. Going around criticizing the company’s product, no matter how well justified, will at least get you a reprimand if not dismissal You have to play office…

Going for Broke

Going for Broke Saying ‘no’ when Larry asked you to join a clandestine project was fraught with land mines, as you saw.  Is the answer to go for broke and say ‘yes’? The pros and cons If you put together a pros and cons list, it might look like this: Pros of going for broke Cons of going for broke The project could be great career move. You’re violating your employment contract. Lots of people get to the top by breaking the rules. If you`re caught, you could be fired. The game could make you big money. Nothing comes of the project and it`s all risk, no pay-off. Your terms You think the pros outweigh the cons but want to square things with your conscience. You stipulate you`ll work on the project only on your own time and your own laptop. Meetings have off the premises. Larry agrees although his ` Aren’t you the stickler?` is more than a little mocking. At first, going for broke goes well The game is very cool, with levels within levels and all kinds of weapons you can acquire through a complicated ritual. They’ve only done the opening sequence but you see the potential….

Keeping Others’ Secret

Keeping Others’ Secret In a previous post, Larry asked you to test a game he and others were developing on the side. In the last post, you contemplated saying ‘no’ and, moreover, telling your boss Malcolm what was happening. Doing so wouldn’t turn out well for anyone. So maybe the best bet is to say ‘no’ but keep it secret from Malcolm. You say no. Things go back to normal? That’s what you’d expect, right? You’ve said no politely, you’ll get back to work and Larry will get back to his. And if Larry is a nice guy, that’s probably true. He’ll just move onto the next tester candidate. But what if Larry is just the littlest bit paranoid? As he might be, since he knows he’s engaging in a fireable offence. A whole different scenario could play out. What if Larry is paranoid? Larry comes by your station the next morning. Larry: Remember, what we talked about was just between us. You: Of course, you can trust me. Larry: You know, I don’t get you. You seem like a smart guy and yet you’re turning down a chance to get a leg up. You:  I appreciate the offer… Larry:…

Doing the ‘Right’ Thing

Doing the ‘Right’ Thing In the last post, you have a new job as a tester for children’s on-line games. Larry, the senior designer and a fun guy, has asked you to work on a serious game without your boss’ knowledge. What is the right thing to do? What should you do? Obviously, if this were above board, you’d jump at the chance to work on a real game. But it clearly isn’t. You know what you should do. A good employee would not only say `no` but even tell your boss Malcolm. After all, they`re using work time. In the next post, I`ll deal with saying no but keeping quiet. This one is about saying `no` but deciding to tell Malcolm. Should you tell the boss? I bet you recoil at the idea of telling Malcolm, don’t you? Understandable. But in fact, Larry and his gang are stealing something very valuable. The company trades money (your salary) for your expertise. When employees engage in non-work activities during work, it violates that implicit agreement. So, if you’re against stealing, you actually should tell Malcolm. This still makes you kind of queasy? Let’s play out what might happen if you did….