In business, Forbes contributor Jacob Morgan writes, few people are “single.” Working full time for a company is like being “in a relationship,” to borrow a bit of Facebook terminology, and in his aptly titled post “Make No Mistake, You’re In A Relationship With The Company You Work For,” Morgan offers tips for keeping things healthy and mutually supportive between you and your job. Read on for a summary of some excellent career advice you may have never heard.
1. Ask for What You Want — Just as you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your significant other what you need to be happy, you ought not shy away from going to your company for things like more time on projects, a greater amount of flexibility in your schedule, or more money. “This doesn’t mean you will always get what you want,” Morgan writes, “but you have to at least ask for it so that the people you work with know what’s on your mind.”
2. Foster Mutual Respect — It’s all about give and take. In the same way you want the company to value your time and make you feel like part of the team, you should follow through on commitments, show up for meetings, and engage with your coworkers. Be engaged with those around you and show you’re not simply going through the motions.
3. Embrace Vulnerability — If you and your romantic partner can’t talk candidly about the future — that all-important “where are things going?” conversation — you’re probably in trouble. The same goes for work. As Morgan writes, the ability to engage in honest conversations with colleagues and managers is essential to finding satisfaction at your company.
4. Establish Trust — Imagine your partner has the old “wandering eye,” and you suspect he or she is always checking out attractive strangers and looking to ditch you for someone with better hair and a cooler car. Not a good feeling, right? According to Morgan, the same holds true in the professional world. You don’t want to work someplace where you feel like an “expendable cog” who could be replaced at any moment, and on the same token, you don’t want to give the impression you’re some flighty flake who might bolt in six months when a better opportunity comes along.
5. Know When to Call It Quits — Not all relationships go the distance, and at some point — maybe when you’re being taken advantage of, or you’re not working with the same passion and drive you used to — it might be time to leave your company. As Morgan writes, knowing when to walk away is essential.