I haven't had a massive variety of jobs, but for twenty-one years old, I've had enough.
Over the years I have worked under multiple different managers, leaders, and "bosses".
One thing all my past jobs had in common was a time-in and time-out clock, and to me, that's all the jobs were.
My mentality at every job was "I'm here when you tell me, and I'll work my hardest, but the moment you say I can go - or I'm scheduled to go - I'm out of here."
Likewise, I was treated like a clock-in employee.
I came in, was expected to do my tasks - obviously - and then I could leave when I was done.
Don't get me wrong, I had nice managers.
We decently got along, but it was always surface level interactions and conversations.
To most people this would seem normal.
They would say it was the typical "work appropriate" relationship.
But I disagree.
Since I started working for The PHNX21creative Agency, I have realized the difference between bosses who need you there, and bosses who actually want you there.
For starters, the word boss usually carries a negative connotation.
When you think boss you tend to think scary, unapproachable, or someone who has the power to crush your entire world in seconds if they choose.
When I started working for PHNX21creative the word boss was thrown out the window very early on.
I wasn't necessarily a partner in the way that I owned half the company, was responsible for half the start up, or had invested thousands of dollars into it.
No, I was called a partner because I was someone who carried weight in the company - someone who played a part, and whose efforts were noticeable and deemed important.
Dictionary.com puts it perfectly when they describe the word partner as "someone who plays on the same side or team as another."
That's exactly how I was made to feel - like we were on the same team fighting for the same goal: to help rising business leaders and entrepreneurs reach success by inspiring and educating them.
Knowing and actually feeling like my efforts mattered, and were appreciated, led to a much more open and honest relationship with my "boss"/business partner.
Knowing that you are not just filling a need, but that your talents and gifts are actually wanted, makes going to work that much more enjoyable and that much more rewarding.
As my time at The PHNX21creative Agency has progressed my business partner and I have started implementing team prayer at the beginning of the weeks.
We take time to ask how each other is genuinely doing.
But in all honesty, no time during the day or week has been made off limits to speak up and say "hey this is on my mind" or "I'm actually not OK."
People would say it is inefficient or inappropriate to stop and talk about your problems.
I, for one, was always taught and expected to leave my personal life at the door in my other jobs, and to come in ready to work.
But how many of us can attest to the fact that when you have something going on in your life, you're actually not able to always be efficient.
Depending on our situations, we can't always leave life at the door.
Whether you're thinking of the eviction notice sitting on your kitchen counter at home, your marriage/relationship is on the rocks, your dad is in the hospital and the reports are not so good, or you are dealing with crippling depression from feelings of inadequacy, sometimes forgetting and pretending is no longer an option.
We have created a culture in the work place where we are more "human doings" than human beings.
No wonder everyone feels the need to go numb themselves after they clock out, or by the time the weekend rolls around.
The work place tends to lack transparency and openness because people view it as "inappropriate" or "unnecessary", when really it's what we all crave and long for.
Someone to see that we are hurting and understand that the twenty page report on your desk is not going to get finished until you've had a twenty minute brain break outside with a cup of coffee and a fellow team member who can look you in the eyes and tell you you're appreciated.
For example, a couple weeks ago, I had to stop what I was doing and ask my business partner (boss, but not boss) if I could leave early and make up my hours the next day.
Instead of yelling and refusing, or sending me home annoyed and telling me to "come back tomorrow ready to work harder" he stopped, asked if I was OK, and actually let me cry at my desk.
We talked about what I was feeling, and he empathized with me for a minute, but ultimately encouraged me and let me walk out the door knowing he cared more about who I was becoming, than what I could do for him.
Talk about a place to work, right?
You may think you work for too big an industry for that to fly, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the "big man up top" who stops you and hands you tissues as you cry.
As long as the big man has created a culture where people feel free to be real and honest, it can be the person in the cubicle next to you who stops there day and takes a minute to look you in the eyes and appreciate you.
If you work for a place where you are expected to push papers and just work til you can work no more, I would encourage you to reconsider whether your paycheck is worth making yourself miserable for years.
You have one life.
You have the chance to thrive, afford all the things you want, and still be happy.
I may only be twenty-one, but I know that if I were ever to move to another company, I would settle for nothing less than what my current "boss" has shown me a boss can actually be.
I love knowing that I can do my job, be encouraged, and take on more responsibility while still being treated like a human, and have the freedom to admit that I don't always have it together, nor do I always know what I am doing.