Self respect is not tied to position

– And self worth is not tied to possession.

Most of us would agree with this, but do we behave like we believe this?

Years ago after 15 years of fast promotions and rewards, the company I then worked for merged with a firm that had very different values and methods. I quickly went from the proverbial “golden boy” to the proverbial “chump”. Literally overnight.

In the course of the next few months, I realized, I no longer had a long term future with a company I had grown up with, professionally and personally. My friends were there, my accomplishments, my titles from trainee to VP, and most of all my financial stability at a time when I had lots of bills, young children and no professional connections outside of that company.

It was all at risk, I was vulnerable and scared.

It became a crucible of sorts. Definitions of good ethics changed, what constituted appropriate treatment of employees changed too. I came face to face with a decision of holding to my values and being an outcast or compromising those values in order to “fit in”.

It’s the adult version of peer pressure. We tell our children don’t bow to the pressure of that bad boy in your class. You remember the line, “if Jane jumped off a bridge would you too? ” we hear our moms saying to us in that small voice in our heads.

There is enough change in today’s work environments, community, church, or volunteer organizations that I will suggest we will all come face to face with a similar crucible. In one way or another we will be where I was back then (and have been since) in some organizational life or another.

What have you done?
Would (will) you do something different next time?
Do you know what core values you hold that are unmovable and you will pay whatever price it requires to stay true to those values?

The titles, stuff we own (too big a mortgage), and self identity we build becomes the challenge to our values. The fear of losing that stuff or that position, not the external situation that pressures us to compromise ourselves.

What did I do?

I’d like to tell you I immediately rose to the occasion stood up for the values I knew were right in both life and business that being an outcast was just A Okay with me if that’s what it took.

Instead I tried to walk a line between the two. I would go quiet in certain situations, tried to hold onto the past and preserve position and possession.

That doesn’t work. We must know our values and surround ourselves with work, friends, community that match those values.

  1. annuaire says:

    Some url are not working anymore.

  2. Dick Dooley says:

    My first blog ever !!!
    Thanks for prompting that. I’ll have to learn how to type better [am self taught from “Hunt and peck”]. So thanks for that prompt too!
    Love your visual, especially after your words about the mailbox on your 11 mile routine [wow] bike ride.
    The frorum process is built to very effctively and efficiently offer up for others to learm from, lessons like your decision to change jobs. Often it takes more time to develope, perhaps in a roundabout, non linerar way. Your story does that. Will enable others to tell theirs. Likely will enhance exchanges in your live forums!!
    People have said it’s impossible to take the Forum process over into “Electronics” i.e., the www, but this site of yours and the live blogging feature does very, very well, in my opinion
    That’s a leson for me doing LLF 2.0
    Yours is very well designed
    Thanks a third time
    Keep @ it

    • kjr says:

      Dick, great to hear from you and thanks for the feedback and encouragement. Yes, we’ve learned much in our forums and taking it to the blogosphere will be a whole new approach, but doable i am sure.

      Stay in touch and hello to Barbara.

      In friendship, Kevin

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