If you spent a minute on LinkedIn in the last few years, you would probably agree with me that the feed itself might sound a little bit like propaganda*. Some might call it thought leadership, but the reason I call it propaganda is that almost every single post you see in the feed discusses one of the most trending topics that is engulfing our society at any given point in time.
As a marketer and communicator professionally, I see the logic behind that. I get it! You are supposed to talk to people about what’s trending and what’s already on their minds. This is, after all, what I am doing with my blog post right here, right now. On the other hand, there is a big problem with that. And if you have watched the movie Social Dilemma, you will know what I mean. So, let’s address the elephant in the room, what exact problems might be lurking on a professional networking platform like LinkedIn.
One of the prevailing topics and trends in our society, sparked by the pandemic, is challenging the status quo in the workplace. Which in turn spiked the rate of quitting across the globe. If you are a regular on LinkedIn, you will see many posts almost encouraging people to quit. Painting the picture of the promised land of the “after you quit – how much better your life will be.” Turning the idea into an all-consuming monster, luring the readers into the decision to quit. Like the glimmering water in the desert – the marriage – you start seeing what you want to see…
So! Before you decide to quit your current job, let’s chat about it! Just a heads up – it’s going to be an honest conversation. Are you still willing to read it? Let’s do this!
Consider these questions to make sure the decision you are making is indeed yours and not the opinion of a group of people on LinkedIn who are not satisfied with their current career situation.
As a marketing agency that asks our clients and ourselves to Think Fresh – it’s not surprising that I am starting with thinking.
Think of the last time you were unhappy about something at work. What exactly was happening? Go back to that day, that moment, when you felt dissatisfied. What was the circumstance? Did someone say something? Did your boss assign a new task to you? Was there a change in your workflow? Did you get feedback (or complaint) from your colleague or client? What actually happened?
I know there are many things happening every day, but please stick with me – think of one last occurrence of when you felt dissatisfied.
What is the actual problem?
Now that you have the circumstance (ABC) in your mind. And you are feeling dissatisfied (btw, the feeling could be mad, angry, pissed, defensive, overwhelmed, etc., but let’s use dissatisfied for this conversation).
You feel dissatisfied when you are thinking about ABC. Let’s zoom in here! What are you thinking about? Let’s take an example of feedback “your manager said something to you” – what’s happening in your head? What do you make it mean?
Manager says words: “Mike, how’s that monthly report going? What’s the status?”
Mike thinking: Why is he asking me? Does he not trust me to complete this report on time?
Result – Mike feels overwhelmed = dissatisfied with the manager + work.
Is it true?
So, what is the reason Mike is feeling dissatisfied? Is it because the manager asked about the report’s status or because Mike thinks the manager doesn’t trust Mike?
So, Mike feeling overwhelmed and maybe even defensive or upset could be legitimate IF we knew for a fact that the manager doesn’t trust Mike. But we don’t know that! We only know that the manager said words – asked for the status.
We don’t know WHY the manager is asking.
We don’t know what’s happening in the manager’s world. There might be a myriad of reasons.
So back to LinkedIn. Imagine Mike is going on LinkedIn right after the manager asks him about the report, and Mike thinks that the manager doesn’t trust him. Mike is feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied. Mike goes on LinkedIn and sees all the posts about the proverbial mirage! The promised land is right there – Mike just needs to reach out and grab it.
Mike quits his job. Two weeks later, once the high from the relief of not dealing with the manager anymore wears off… Mike starts to think… Maybe the manager wasn’t that bad. Maybe he shouldn’t have listened to LinkedIn… Maybe the manager just wanted to know if Mike needed help, maybe the manager was trying to help, and maybe he actually trusted him. Maybe the manager has seen some areas for improvement for Mike, and maybe they are actually on the same team – wanting the same result – excellence in business for their clients?
Was it really true what Mike was thinking? Was his feeling dissatisfied appropriate towards the manager? Was his decision based on truth or illusion?
So, what are you thinking today? Are you being promised your dream job? Do you think things will be different if you just quit? Quietly?
Listen, guys! The last few years have been hard on everyone! On Mikes and the managers alike! Can we just talk? Can we just keep our communication open? Intentionally. And yes, there might need to be many conversations arranged before you find the new rhythm (because truth be told – we might have forgotten a little about how to work with other humans, no?) Let’s not hide behind zoom calls anymore! Talk to your manager today! Tell them Helen sent you! You can even send them this blog as an icebreaker! Yeah?
No matter what you decide – I sure hope that you think FRESH! And you make an intentional decision that is not generated by the collective unhappiness but by a thoughtful choice with an effort not to hide and escape when things get uncomfortable but to keep growing personally and professionally. Together.
*prop·a·gan·da [noun] information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
Note: the characters in this blog are entirely fictional. But who knows, maybe fiction sometimes is inspired by true stories.