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A company isn't a family

Parents don't fire their kid for low performance or furlough them in hard times

A better vision for a workplace is a community--a place where people bond around shared values, feel valued as human beings, and have a voice in decisions that affect them

-Adam Grant-


Things I would do for family: donate a kidney, pay for college, rock you all night because you are sick.

Things I would do for work: honor the boundaries and expectations we both set when I took the job.

You are not my family, you do not get free reign and access to my life and time and you do not get my kidney. You ARE my employer and you can expect that when I show up at times we all agreed on when I took the job, that I will be fully present, work with integrity, and add value to our work community and shared time together (Oh, and I will bring a dish to pass to the unit potluck or at least buy pop, and at the very, very least bring paper plates).

In healthcare, there is often a pervasive boundary creep that happens as soon as you start a new job:

“We are so happy you joined us, welcome to the family here.”

“I know you are on orientation, but we are short staffed, so you have your own assignment today.”

“We are pulling you off orientation early. We have to staff the unit.”

“I know we approved that PTO but now we don’t have staff so you can’t be off. You’ll have to cancel your vacation.”

“Can you pick up today?”

“Can you pick up today?”

“Can you pick up this weekend?”

“You never pick up your ‘fair share’ of extra shifts so we aren’t sure you are a good fit for our unit. You are not a team player.”

When the word, “Family,” gets thrown around in an interview, ask the prospective employer to explain what that means to them. It is often a red flag and a term used to create a sense of obligation above your professional arrangement.

When you are feeling pushed beyond what your boundaries and terms of employment are, use Mooxli facilitator Fotini Iconomopoulus negotiation tools to hold to those boundaries. You will either gain greater psychological safety at work or gain clarity that there isn’t a long term way forward for you in that employment setting (and you’ll be able to save your kidney for your actual chosen family)!


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