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You Have a Passion or Just a Paycheck? Five Years After Wrongful Termination Part 1

You Have a Passion or Just a Paycheck? Five Years After Wrongful Termination Part 1


Updated: January 4, 2016

New Year, new you? Blah! The same problems from last year follow us into the next (sorry, it’s true); and, the one problem that persists for many of us that we hate work.  Not that we hate to work, but that we hate our jobs! We often hear, “if you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work,” or “if you’re passionate about what you do, everything else will fall into place,”  I hate those people.  The trite “Oprahisms” always sounded great, but finding a job that allowed me to purchase unlimited shoes while tanning evenly on both sides on a beach were surprisingly hard to find.

We don't think of our careers as one of the most important relationships in our lives, but it is.

We don’t think of our careers as one of the most important relationships in our lives, but it is.

Shiny number 5Ostensibly having killed my own career exactly five years ago today, I was wrongfully terminated from my medical device sales job at Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon’s Acclarent for speaking the truth, I realized that my career was one of the most important relationships in my life, but I wasn’t acting like it.  It wasn’t until I started to look at my career like any other important relationship in my life did I notice I was tolerating abuse at work that I wouldn’t in any other relationship in my life.

I loved my work, what I didn’t love was executives and management that encouraged, replicated & rewarded unethical & illegal behavior from sexism, racism, and retaliation, to defrauding the FDA by fraudulently obtaining an approval (510k) for a medical device to defrauding health insurance companies.  We’re by manipulated by unethical companies who tell us things like “feel grateful you even have a job,” or threatened with statements like, “don’t you know how many people would kill to have your job?” so that we’ll accept their abuse.  This is what I did not like. If any of this sounds familiar to you then click the box below where you’ll start to question if you too were (are) abused at work.  Abusive people want to blame & non-abusive people want to fix.

Workplace Abuse Cycle>

Chronic mismanagement designed to appease venture capital investors (startups) or shareholders puts unethical and illegal pressure on reps (employees) to agree to submit false projects which creates the appearance of hypergrowth (selling off-label stocking shelves etc) and fraudulently overvalues the company for sale or IPO and is fraud and is entrenched in the startup model. Reps (who know the market and their territories explain the projections could never ethically be achieved) are then are blamed by management for missing the false projections, told they don’t know how to sell and either incentivized to sell unethically or illegally or are terminated.  Later comes the company’s need to “restructure” where innocent employees are laid off while the executive and management team responsible are encouraged, their actions replicated and rewarded for mismanaging.  Reps willing to sell unethically or illegally are encouraged, their actions replicated & rewarded and those asking for transparency and question the subjectiveness of projections which lack in fact-based evidence, are terminated.

Management views reps (employees) as “you’re only as good as your last month,” where nothing is ever good enough, which are just tactics used to justify the company’s unethical and illegal actions to achieve ROI at the expense of good employees, innocent patients turned victims and taxpayers and shareholders who are left holding worthless stock because the company focus was on fraudulent hypergrowth and not sustainable growth. Unless reps (employees) are willing to expose management, executives, and venture capital investors this cycle will continue. You may not care now because you’re doing well, but it’s only a matter of time when you won’t be, and it has nothing to do with your ability to sell, and it has everything to do with mismanagement covering up fraud, and that’s why I care.

During this process, I read at the recommendation of my sister, a “self-help” book   The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood & Chris Attwood, something I said I’d never do.  It helped but don’t expect it to solve all your problems. These were my three take-aways from reading the book:

  1. I would only be happy working in an environment free of abuse & fraud (working with people, not for them, a subtle but necessary distinction)
  2. I had to be brutally honest with myself or else this cycle of rinse & repeat would continue (the lies we tell ourselves are always far worse than the one told to us).
  3. My passion, in part, is tied to showing people how to fix problems through forced accountability from the unethical who engaged in illegal activity at the expense of honest employees with the goal of creating positive change.

Happiness is a big buzz word that people focused on the image of a problem opposed to the substance behind fixing the problem toss around like there’s an easy fix. There isn’t.  Brutal self-honesty is where it begins and ends. You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. Find the biggest lie you’re telling yourself and begin there.

Here are 15 simple questions. Print it out blank, do it weekly and see if you start to notice a pattern:

1. What was the most enjoyable work activity of the week?

2. How many enjoyable work moments did you have?

3. How many frustrating or boring moments did you have?

4. How would you describe your impact on others you work with, your customers, or those whom you came into contact with this week?

5. Is this the type of impact you want?

6. If not, what prompted this change in your desired impact?

7. Were you challenged this week?

8. Were you bored?

9. What were your biggest and most exciting challenges this past week?

10. How confident did you feel this week?

11. Did you have any negative mental chatter about yourself?

12. Are you practicing actively believing that you can achieve whatever it is you have set your sights on?

13. Are you committed to having joy and groundbreaking results at work?

14. What distractions came up this week that prevented you from getting the most out of your job?

15. How can you avoid that going forward?

Part 4

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