I just got fired for the third time in a year. All three said I talk back too much but I don’t think it’s fair. I’m just explaining my point of view. It’s them that won’t listen.
You sound as though you are a younger person who is just beginning their introduction to the work world and your perspective is a common one. It’s common but naive. I want to make sure you understand that by naive I do not mean silly or stupid or dumb. I mean there is no way for any human being to know anything about anything if they’ve never encountered it before. Because it’s new to you the things you’re seeing make no sense. So I’ll do my best to use my experience to help shed some light on the issue.
Whether you’re starting out in a small business, or in the service industry, or a trade or any other thing, you will always start at the bottom. You know the least about what the company does so you’ll do the least damage in a lower position with less responsibility. But running a company and being responsible for a lot of people’s paycheques has a lot of aspects to it, so the managers will have earned their stripes whether it seems like it to you or not. Just think about it: they would have started with the company as one of 20 workers employed by one manager. And yet out of those 20, only one rose to become the manager. How come? Because he had more to offer.
Simply put Dis, no one really cares about your point of view. At least not yet. It was like that for them too. They know your youth and inexperience will largely blind you. Without knowing it you’ll say all kinds of naive things because what else can you say? You’re actually naive. So don’t take it personally. Don’t get mad. They’re just playing the odds. They know that people have done your job for years, so if things are some way then there’s probably a pretty good reason. Maybe that reason’s changed or maybe your needs have, but regardless, even if things do need changing—the boss is the boss. Unless they’re doing something illegal or immoral, your job is to adjust your sails to whichever direction the Captain requests. From there your only job is to not really question the captain because if every thing he or she did every day was questioned, they would end up spending half their day answering questions to subordinates.
Now this isn’t to say that you couldn’t have a truly bad boss. Most people do because most bosses don’t give much thought to their bossing, they just do the first thing that comes to their mind. But bottom line, there will be a hierarchy, so you might as well learn to accept it. You know more than someone half your age, and you know way less than someone twice as old as you. So be humble and listen. And remember that sometimes guidance comes in the form of what not to do. Don’t take that personally. Instructions are not criticisms. Instructions make you larger and more capable. Welcome them.
I know it can be frustrating, but trust me, there’s pressures on those managers that you can’t see. When you get in trouble it’s because they got in trouble first. So ignore your personal feelings about the subject and just focus on your action plan. What are you going to do differently? Everything a boss tells you is just information for you to base your decisions on. So listen to it and see if maybe these three bosses aren’t even a little bit right. By listening better I strongly suspect you’ll quickly learn some valuable lessons. Just don’t feel the need to defend yourself. Your boss is busy and the explanation doesn’t move the business—or ultimately you—forward. Listen well, learn lots and work hard and you’ll do fine Dis.
I wish you every good fortune.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.