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Marketing Entrepreneurship Business Blog for SMB's

Tag: work culture

In the early days of my career, colleagues used to ask me to make coffee for them. “Be a darling and get me a coffee”. I loved getting coffee for the ‘big boss’ but when it came to my colleagues, I hated it with a passion. So much so, I used to do things that were quite disgusting like ‘not wash the cup’ or ‘salt instead of sugar’. I was 18.

Fast forward more than 30 years and I walk around to my staff and ask them, “Can I get you lunch” or “Can I get you a cup of tea?” What a difference time and hindsight make.

With my much older head on my shoulders, I now realise that those same people who asked me to get coffee (well, most of them), were in fact doing what was in the best interest of clients and the company. They were utilising their time effectively. They had to get back to clients and keep the news rolling, and given that they were working 12 hours a day, it makes sense that they ask for a hand in any task no matter how mundane it was.

Also, I learned years later, that without sales there is no business. I wonder if it is too late to go back and apologise? Quite bratty of me really.

In business, everyone should be working as one team and of course, people should be held to account if they take for granted the situation or feel entitled – even the boss.

Yesterday I was faced with an unsettling situation. A marketing manager was requested to onboard new interns to work on her portfolio and said, “I’m not doing that, it’s a bum job”. Clearly, culturally, the word “bum job” would never be used in Australia or the US, and quite frankly it doesn’t exist. No job is more important than another. In companies, everyone should be working as one team.

At first, I thought I heard wrong. Then it was repeated a further two times. I was taken aback. I asked for clarity and basically, the person in the company thought that they were above speaking to an intern.

Psychological Factors Behind "This Job is Beneath Me"

When an employee says, "This job is beneath me", several psychological factors might be at play:

1. Perceived Status and Self-Worth:

  • Self-Esteem: The individual may have high self-esteem and view the tasks they are assigned as not matching their skills, experience, or education.
  • Ego: A strong sense of ego can make a person feel that certain tasks are not worthy of their attention or effort.

2. Expectation vs. Reality:

  • Expectation Mismatch: The job might not be living up to the individual's expectations set during the hiring process or from their previous roles. They may have expected more challenging or prestigious tasks.
  • Career Aspirations: The person might have high career aspirations and sees the current tasks as a detour or hindrance to their career progression.

3. Recognition and Validation:

  • Need for Recognition: They might feel undervalued and believe that by highlighting the perceived insignificance of the job, they can draw attention to their capabilities and potential.
  • Validation: Seeking validation from peers and superiors can also be a reason, hoping that expressing dissatisfaction will prompt acknowledgment of their higher capabilities.

4. Motivation and Engagement:

  • Lack of Engagement: The employee might be disengaged and unmotivated, finding the job uninteresting or not stimulating enough.
  • Motivational Factors: Their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators might not be aligned with the tasks they are performing, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.

5. Cultural and Organisational Fit:

  • Cultural Misalignment: There might be a misalignment between the individual’s personal values and the organisational culture. If the culture undervalues their skills or doesn't provide growth opportunities, they may feel the job is beneath them.
  • Role Clarity: Lack of clarity in job roles and responsibilities can make an employee feel their potential is underutilised, leading to such statements.

6. Previous Experiences:

  • Past Experience: If the individual has had more advanced or responsible roles in the past, they might feel that their current job doesn't measure up to their previous experiences.
  • Comparison: Comparing their current role with previous or peer roles can lead to a feeling of being undervalued.

7. Communication and Relationships:

  • Managerial Communication: Poor communication with managers or lack of feedback can contribute to an employee feeling undervalued.
  • Peer Influence: Comments and attitudes from colleagues can also affect how an employee views their role.

Understanding these factors can help in addressing the employee's concerns, aligning their tasks with their skills and career aspirations and improving overall job satisfaction and performance.

Addressing the Situation

There are a number of things I thought were relevant:

  • A marketing intern is a critical role. It not only helps young marketers learn the right skills to become successful in their career ahead, but it also adds value to the companies they work for. In addition, it teaches more experienced marketers how to manage people, what challenges young marketers are facing and what they too can learn from an intern.
  • There is no hierarchy in a company. A leader serves their team, and the team serves their clients. Every single person in the team must perform to ensure that an outcome is produced. If someone lets anyone down in the team, everything falls apart. Every ‘spoke’ is critical.
  • Psychology plays a role in people’s thought processes. When someone says something like this, it’s quite often a case that they feel insecure or out of their depth in their roles. Rarely is it a case that they truly, deep down, believe they are above someone. When someone is not performing, the first thing they do is place blame on others.

So, how do companies address this? It’s a question I asked myself and came up with the following:

  • Realign the individual to the company values and vision.
  • Begin exiting the individual because they don’t align with company values.
  • Find out what is the root of their need to feel better than others or more important and help them work through their internal challenges.

I would like to note we run a marketing consulting business, and this person has 100 free hours per month, which ensures that they have time to work with younger, more inexperienced people on the team.

By addressing these issues head-on, companies can foster a more collaborative, respectful and efficient work environment where every role is valued and everyone works together towards common goals.

Published in Blog

With people rushing, brainstorming new ideas, exploring and discussing the latest marketing trends, while some are lost in thoughts, it's a vibrant blend of personalities, creating a colorful and exciting atmosphere. Every corner, every desk, tells a story of a different mind at work. Over my years in this dynamic realm, I've danced with various marketing maestros and learned that while our field thrives on diversity, certain personalities pop up more frequently than others. Let me take you on a journey through my experiences with these fascinating folks.

Published in Marketing