Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

04/07/2010

I have a good friend with a great job at an awesome company. He’s an accomplished, professional, cultured employee who works hard and takes pride in the things that he does. The company uses him in marketing materials and promotions (he has an amazing story), and life couldn’t be better.

Actually, that’s a lie.

For starters, the company really sold him a dream when they recruited him. He wanted to be involved in one type of work and they gave him another. He’s the only person in his geographic region that does what he does, so there’s an element of job security there. There’s also an element of “good luck getting an internal transfer approved” as well. So on the outside, his situation seems ideal: international travel, flexible schedule, support for him remaining involved in the things he was into before he took the job, and so forth.

But the truth is that he’s miserable and looking for new opportunities elsewhere. He’s treated like royalty in their marketing materials, but he isn’t given a fraction of that consideration internally. Unchallenged and unhappy. Because he’s from a foreign country and doesn’t have a green card, he has little leverage inside the company. So he’s stuck. And they’re about to lose him.

The trouble with treating employees as “assets” and “resources” is that they eventually wake up. My friend’s about to slip out the door before they realize what hit them, and I can guarantee you that another company will bend over backwards to give him the respect he deserves.

While I think employees should seriously consider trying to work things out before putting their company in the wind, I know from experience that once you reach your breaking point, the only question is when to make a move.

How does April sound?