NO “WORK MARTYRDOM” in STARTUPS It’s A REALITY
August 22, 2014
The new buzzword of the week is “Work Martyr,” created by the U.S. Travel Association (not at all biased) who claim:
40% of all Americans don’t take all of their vacation leave-which equates to 430 million unused days annually
Those numbers may very well be correct; and another study finds we work five extra weeks for free due to heightened accessibility with smartphones, email, and texting.
“We found that people have this whole busyness as a badge of honor thing,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “We’re becoming a nation of work martyrs. People really wear it on their sleeves how they don’t take time off. Everyone around the world looks at Americans like we’re crazy.”
Mr. Dow clearly never worked for a startup. It’s not a badge of honor to miss vacation in a startup environment it’s an expectation. There is no martyrdom in that statement it is steeped in reality. Again, the goal of a startup is to show hypergrowth quickly; and, as a sales rep the expectation goes beyond the individual performance of “hitting a number” or achieving quota it’s about selling over the quota to pick up the slack for a Region or Area. Startups exploit that it’s frowned upon if vacation is taken and financial expectations are not being met. It’s also opening discussed among managers as means to threaten, intimidate, and manipulate the rights of the employees.
I’ve recounted before being 110% to quota and having a discussion with my manager about taking vacation and his response was, “You can take your vacation when I fire you.” And later that year he tried to do just that as I went into Q4 at 93% to quota, he placed me on a PIP or Performance Improvement Plan. He wasn’t successful firing me that year but he did eventually win that argument and I was later terminated.
Startup runs by a different set of rules and the need to show profitability quickly by hypergrowth supersedes anything else including ethics and laws. So again, Mr. Dow President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association shows he doesn’t understand today’s companies are operating under The Sociopathic Business Model™ where people’s fear of job loss are real and not martyrdom.