This week was my frequent reminder that for an employee, I should treat myself as an asset rather than a tool.
It was my 1:1 with my engineering manager who was surprised that I didn’t speak up about a defect I noticed in our team dynamic. I knew I should have spoken up. To be fair to myself, I technically did, but I could have done it better. I shied away from speaking up and acting braver. A thought I’ve tweeted about and deeply believe in, but in this particular situation, I failed to apply my own thinking.
Employment is a two-way street. Both parties must look for each other to survive. Both parties should be willing to invest in the relationship. Honesty and trust are essential in this relationship. The employer should have faith in your abilities and go to great lengths to ensure that you’re happy and fulfilled. The employee on the other hand should use their abilities to make the best decisions possible while minimizing waste and mistakes.
The moment that you think that there is an upper hand and a side has to own it and act upon it, is the moment that you should pause for a minute and rethink your attitude. This is the moment that you should think of yourself as an asset, not a tool. An asset that your employer is investing in to foster your opinions and judgment. Not giving them that, is considered a bad investment. You don’t want to be considered a bad deal.
Consider this as your reminder to stop treating yourself as a tool hired to move tasks from the “todo” to the “done” column. You’re hired to assess situations and use your best wisdom. None of that will be done if you treat yourself as a tool. A tool is cheap to replace, but an asset isn’t.