Italy’s Employment Minister Touched a Nerve – The Workplace Is Not a Meritocracy

Italy’s Employment Minister Touched a Nerve – The Workplace Is Not a Meritocracy

Mr. Poletti is right, the best thing you can do as a job seeker is be connected to people who can help you. But the Guardian article is also correct that simply leaving it up to that has been, and will be, a guaranteed way to leave too many qualified people behind. Somehow we are going to have to find a middle ground, a place where hiring involves a true meritocracy but allows access to the most diverse group of candidates that we can get. This will not happen by accident. It will only happen person by person and company by company.

Let’s normalize having a wide and diverse professional network.

What’s Your Definition of What a Job Should Be?

What’s Your Definition of What a Job Should Be?

That’s it. I know there are some who will tell you that they are passionate about their work, and they “never work a day in my life”. Good for them, but we have to start admitting that is a very small, select, group of people in a very small, select number of jobs. There are not billions of jobs out there like that for everyone to just go get. There are not even millions of them. Maybe I’m not going to change the world by doing just interesting work with people I don’t hate. That’s OK because I have the time to change the world in my own little way when I’m not working instead.

We Should Stop Equating Being Busy With Being Important

We Should Stop Equating Being Busy With Being Important

It grabbed my attention because it’s something I hear quite often, often in combination with the other, more obvious, “complaint” about working long hours.

And yes, the word complaint is in quotes because we all know that when we mention the hours or the back-to-back meetings, we complain about it, but we are really bragging about how busy we are for one simple reason. Busy people are in demand, they are important.

But, are they really?

Linked: More women than men feel uncomfortably cold at the office, and it’s impacting their work performance
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Linked: More women than men feel uncomfortably cold at the office, and it’s impacting their work performance

Look, work from home eliminates this. So it’s clearly a diversity “plus” to let people work at a temperature they control and are most comfortable with, right? “Temperature discomfort is one of the most common sources of complaint within office environments. In particular, research suggests that excessively cold office temperatures are a frequent issue. Notably,…

Linked: Most Managers Don’t Listen Well

Linked: Most Managers Don’t Listen Well

If you aren’t even trying to listen during difficult conversations how will employees ever truly feel valued?

This does explain some of the disconnects around managers wanting to return to the office when employees don’t, or managers feeling like they’ve made the effort to support employee mental health when employees don’t agree. In order to understand that what you’re doing isn’t working, you have to actually ask people.

Linked: Work addiction is real – here’s how to kick the habit
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Linked: Work addiction is real – here’s how to kick the habit

I think this article, while helpful, also hints at a larger societal problem that many of us have been thinking about and that is what role our work plays in our overall lives and our sense of work. Working all the time isn’t just something we sometimes do. It’s part and parcel of being “important” in our society. Let’s face it, when someone tells us they disconnect in the evenings and weekends, our first thought is not “Oh how healthy”, it is much more to be “Oh you must not be very important then”.

Until that perception changes, I don’t know that we’ll make much progress, but it does need to change. Our work plays far too much of a role in our self-worth and therefore is it is far too easy to take advantage of employees.