Do As I Say Not As I Do – It’s Not Going Away

Oh my did I grow up hearing that phrase, and the “Because I said so.” I accepted it as law; of course, with my father you did not question the rules. You knew better. My son’s generation is much different. Maybe it was something in the garden hose water that we all drank that affected their genes, but they seem to think they purpose in life is to question every rule and it is their right to demand an answer. They also believe an appropriate response to “do as I say not as I do” or “because I said so” is “but that’s not fair”. Tough cookies you silly little things, life isn’t fair.

They are going to have a rude awakening when they go out into the real world and get a job. Because the working world is based upon many things including the two golden rules of “Do as I say, not as I do” and “Because I said so”. Sometimes it is disguised as “This is the way it has always been done.” For some strange reason I am finding that many people are starting to turn into our children and saying, “That’s not fair”. Get over it.

I went to the After Hours Networking event held by the Fishers Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday – wonderful event by the way, and I was talking to a friend who is an advisor with a major insurance agency. We were talking about how his assistant is trying to get him to use her system with his calendar. He is a write it down kind of guy, she is an electronic kind of girl. When he was telling me about their little battles I told him that it was my opinion that her job was to come in every morning and before close of business, take his calendar and enter anything new into her system and visa versa.

At the risk of sounding insensitive: let’s face it, her job is dependent upon his, she needs to make his life easier so it makes her life easier and more profitable. She is in a supporting position therefore she needs to adapt her systems to better support the bread winner in the work relationship.

I had a managing director that was stuck in his ways, sure there were things that he could have changed that would have made my life easier but trust me, this guy was NOT going to do it. Period. He was my boss, he drove the revenues for office and my job was to drive the operations. My job was to make his life easier. There were certain things that I had to adjust to which accomplished this feat. Were some a pain in my butt, yes! However a bigger pain in my butt would have been an unhappy managing director. This may offend some but I knew my place and I accepted it. I knew what my role was and we joked in the office that I was his perfect work-wife but would have killed him as a home-wife.

Others wanted to grumble and grip and try to force him to change and they were never happy in their positions, and they earned no respect from him or others in the office. Oh he was full of the do as I say not as I do and because I said so without coming out and saying those things, but having grown up this way I accepted it. Knowing the rules of the working relationship served me well. He respected me for the job I did and appreciated that I was supportive and made making his life easier a priority. The fact that I was damn good at it helped too.

Those that wanted him to change his ways to adjust to make their life easier were almost appalled at the acceptance I showed in accepting my role. However it served me well, when the big dogs would come into town he was the first to tell them that he was the face of the office but I really ran it and when the company was bought out that man made it a priority to make sure I was taken care of in a new position. There is nothing wrong with the golden rules.

When you accept a position you accept it with all the conditions it comes with like it or not, and if you don’t like it then don’t take the job. Pretty simple. Earn your way to a position where you can enjoy the rules but do not expect to come in at the lower rung and think the company is going to bend to you – that is unrealistic and quite frankly at that level you are not all that and the bag of chips.

It is time for our kids and some of us to do a reality check – are we demanding more than we have earned? If so we better get over it quick or we will find ourselves in one of two spots: unemployed or miserable (or both). There is a hierarchy, there is an order of things and there are unwritten rules. As parents we need to re-install these rules to our children because it will help them when they go into the working world.

I loved that position and providing the supporting role to my managing director, it gave me a sense of security in knowing the rules and a great sense of accomplishment in being able to perform my role very, very well. There were parts that I hated, no doubt. But life is give and take.

If you are unhappy in your current position and take a cold hard look at what you do, what is your role and what are your expectations. When you think things are not fair or should change, are your reasons purely selfish? What do you like about what you do and what are you good at? Here’s another radical thought, sit down and talk to those you support and ask them what they need; how can you make their life easier. You might just be amazed at the response not only in their suggestions but also in the fact that they will see you care about your job. This will make a huge difference to them and honestly to you.

If you get so frustrated about having to follow the golden rules at work, relax, you can always impose them at home!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Transition Strategist
Career Polish, Inc.

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