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What’s the Difference Between My Boss vs My Parents And Teachers Telling Me What To Do?

By Andrew

A Christmas casual role is often your very first time having a manager or a boss.

And your boss tells you what to do, like your teachers and parents, right?

No - its very different. And here’s how;

If you have spent 17 or 18 years being told what to do by parents and teachers, you start to build up habits in the way you respond.

But now you have a “manager” telling you what to do.

The habits you have built up with parents and teachers are not necessarily the best responses to your new manager.

Bad habit 1:

With parents and teachers sometimes it accepted you will try to minimise how much work you do. “Mum, I’ve packed 80% of the dishwasher… I have to go to Bob’s house now” And because they care about you, parents will give you a bit of slack.

Bad habit 2:

Or you might have the habit of negotiating the task. If your Mum wants you home by 9pm, you might respond with “Come on… 10pm please… pleeeease”

But at work, the relationship is different, and your habits with parents and teachers will be seen very differently. Negotiating or slacking off just won’t cut it.

So what’s the difference between parents/teachers and your boss?

1. You boss doesn’t "care" about you.

That sounds harsh. But it is a fundamentally different relationship. At its heart, a manager-staff relationship is an economic relationship. Even when you have a nice manager who seems to care about you. Underneath is an economic deal that you signed up to.

So what is the deal? Your manager needs an outcome and has hired you, for money, to help deliver that outcome. You freely accepted the job and the responsibility to help deliver the outcome. It’s an economic deal made by two adults. You are one of those adults!

If you try to re-negotiate out of hard work or slack off when the boss is not looking, you are making working life harder for your manager.

It is literally “childish” behaviour, in an adult relationship. It's a professional relationship, so you need to act professionally.

If you can't live up to the deal, your manager will just find someone else to work with, instead of you. (ouch. sorry this blog gets so serious!)

And that includes if you are a "nice" person or a "good" person. It's the job that you got hired for, so if you are a nice person but you always turn up late... being a nice person won't help.

And because they don’t “care” about you, employers may not tell you what has happened. Suddenly you will get told there are a lot less shifts now, or there is no work after Christmas…

2. You chose

You chose to accept the job.

Unlike parents and school, where you get no choice. You didn’t have to accept the Christmas job.

So it’s immature to try and get out of work or slack off. It might be ok at home or at school, but at work, you are an adult in an economic relationship that you chose.

It might be totally fine to argue with your mum for an extra hour of sleep in the morning, but if you promised to start work at 8.30am, it’s not ok to turn up late with lot’s of excuses.

3. But it works both ways…

Be careful the opposite doesn’t happen either.

You may also have the habit of doing what adults tell you to do. Why? Because often you have no choice at school or at home.

But work is different. You need to step up and use your own judgement. You now have choice.

So if your boss asks you to do something dangerous, or something you don’t think is right, you are an adult, and you don’t have to do it. Your manager has to be professional too.

You can say, “I’m sorry, I’m not comfortable doing that”. Ultimately, unlike a school or parent relationship, you have the ability to walk away. And, if you have to, you can say “I quit”.

Good luck! I hope that gets you thinking about how your habits at school and home may not translate to a Christmas casual job. And hopefully that thinking helps you adjust to this new environment. If you can adjust, a Christmas casual role can be your first step to a great career.

I also hope you have a great manager who helps you adjust to the different environment, and that you have a great experience working as a team over Christmas, especially if it’s your first job!

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