I think it’s important to believe in those words, and to carry yourself, and to act accordingly.

 - Bruce Springsteen
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Gracious reader,

Your organization probably has shared its values, maybe in the employee handbook, or painted on the walls. 

"Actions speak louder than words." 

When we claim to value diversity, and our demographics don't bear that out.  When we call our organization a meritocracy, and it turns out that being the CEO's bud counts as "merit."  When our product doesn't work, and we're asked to lie about it.

Usually I write How to Have A Job over a week or so.  The newsletter theme often comes from a question I've received from one of you, or a discussion I've been part of in Real Life.

Yet Saturday morning rolled around.  Assailed by the news, I set aside an almost completed newsletter to write this one.  Because I can't stop thinking about about our responsibility to question our need to belong to the crowd. 

Especially when actions and words are at odds.

When our organization's actions don't align with its stated values, or with our personal values, what will we do?  Especially given our (very) human desire to belong?
If Not Now, Then When?
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Know Thyself
  • My personal recommendation:  write down your personal values.  Really. 

    If this suggestion, alone, is too squishy to inspire action, you can find a million books to guide your process. 

    Some are super-touchy-feely, and others less so.  Two have stuck with me over the years:  Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (library) (Amazon) and Peter Drucker's Managing Oneself (library) (Amazon.)

    Find a method that speaks to you.  It may help to work with a friend or partner.

  • Having values doesn't make you right.  When you "know" that you're right, there's a risk to you, and to people around you. 

    Who can call BS on you?  Who will give you honest feedback and counsel?   And when should you reach out to them?  
I'm particularly interested in bringing clarity and light to what it means to belong, at work.  And in speaking unspoken truths.

There are a lot of things we can't change.  When we're fortunate, we're able to decide who we work with.  And to exercise a fair amount of discretion about how we treat others. 

Personal values can be a helpful constraint in making decisions about our work and our lives.  It's good to articulate our values, and to revisit them periodically.  They do evolve with time, experience, and maturity.

Because I wrote fast, today's newsletter may be a bit ragged.  Hopefully I caught all of my typos -- they're a big Don't in the How to Have a Job universe.


Anne Libby
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