Is there a right attitude?
Why not let each employee adopt whatever attitude they prefer? In the end that’s what they will do, cause attitude cannot be enforced, it can merely be pretended. But for those who realize that attitude matters, it is useful to explain the right one.
Why does attitude matter?
Attitude matters because it determines the longterm performance of the employee and affects all of himself/herself, the colleagues, and the employer. The key word here is the word “longterm“. If an employee is about to move to another company or job or country etc., attitude makes only little difference, so in this analysis we take as a given that the employee won’t move anytime soon. But sometimes an employee’s attitude can determine when and whether that employee will move (read below), so it again becomes relevant.
Since attitude matters, what is the right one? As this article will demonstrate, the right attitude is not one among many wrong candidates, but it is a composition (and not a mere combination) of more basic attitudes, else it is incomplete and imperfect.
In money-oriented attitude, an employee is supposed to make money (and secondarily gain experience to make more money) by helping the employer make more money. If adopted alone, that simplified savage attitude leads employees to jump from one company to the other, constantly hunting the highest salary or the best combination of financial benefits. It should be obvious that such an attitude is suboptimal and harms primarily the employee himself/herself, cause it ruins all efforts of building a relatively stable life. The natural counter-argument is that without movement there is no advancement, so we should find the perfect balance between moving very often and not moving at all. This article’s position is that there is no such balance and that the right timing of moving should be dictated by the higher levels of attitude, since money is merely a measurement of real values (of those that can be measured, cause some of them are priceless).
In value-oriented attitude, an employee is supposed to produce value in one or more projects, and get rewarded for that. An employee has potential value in his/her skills, which can be actualized by applying those skills (and refining them in the process) in various projects. That’s a level higher than money, but people adopting it without much thought often miss the most important value: the person.
In an industry which increasingly replaces persons with machines (that deserves a separate article), the value of persons constantly decreases, still this analysis is about the attitude of persons, not the attitude of machines. Since an employee is hired, it means that his/her value could not be replaced by a machine. So it would be a mistake to limit the consideration of the person’s value only to his/her skills, and even worse to consider those skills as something static (e.g. provided once and for all from some university). The right attitude is about an ever-advancing person.
Newer employees are usually paid less money than seasoned ones, but that doesn’t mean that they have less profit to gain. Cause newer employees gain the difference in a more valuable asset, that of new knowledge. As long as an employee is acquiring enough knowledge in a position, he/she should be generally satisfied. If instead knowledge is not among the gained values, he/she should consider changing position (sometimes even within the same company). Still the type of gained knowledge can be very different from the type of knowledge acquired by education (and plenty of that knowledge cannot be found in any university).
Advancement of an employee takes place in small steps, not in giant leaps. Some employee may advance through those steps faster than another employee, but both have to pass through all the steps. Therefore, although the employee should generally aim for future big success, should also focus each time on the present next small step.
Advancement from the back
It is generally not easy to be the least important employee in a company. In the eyes of advanced colleagues, many actions of the new employee will look imperfect or immature or even plain wrong. But the fastest way to advance through the steps is by collaborating with advanced persons. Although it is difficult, being open to healthy criticism is crucial to prevent stagnation (even if the source of the criticism is problematic itself). On the other hand, unfair criticism is sterile, so it is not worthy to endure.
Moreover, advancement is multidimensional. A particular colleague may be less advanced in most sectors, but more experienced in another specific one. It can be worthy to collaborate with that colleague just for advancing in that specific sector. Furthermore, while collaborating in a team, experience is not the most valuable skill. Interpersonal skills play a more important role, and sometimes those skills can be found in colleagues who are behind in overall knowledge. However, all personal and interpersonal skills can lose their meaning, if we neglect the dimension of the person’s happiness (and that is not the last level).
[continued and concluded in part B]