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ASK HR: You are not a prisoner, look for another job if you’re unhappy



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Q. If an employer is unhappy with me, they will fire me. If I am disappointed with them, for instance if I am assigned a job that is not in my job description or my boss is a control freak, I am expected to find a way to deal with it.

In most cases, all of the commitment comes from the employee. Is this fair? If I work for such an employer, how do I tackle this unfairness?

A proper contract of employment would ordinarily indicate the circumstances under which it could be terminated by either the employer or employee.

Employment legislation provides the typical situations that could prompt an employer to terminate an employment contract, examples of which include misconduct, non-performance and declaration of redundancy.

It is a breach of the law for an employer to terminate an employment contract without lawful cause.

Unlike an employer who may not dismiss an employee without lawful cause, an employee is at liberty to terminate the employment contract through resignation for any reason.

Employment legislation recognises the relative balance of power between an employer and an employee and therefore generally shields the former from the negative consequences of capricious impulses of the latter.

Responsible organisations realise that commitment to employee welfare is equally in their interest. You are unlikely to find successful organisations that routinely neglect the interests of their employees as this invariably impedes productivity, consequently undermining the performance of an organisation.

This notwithstanding, commitment cannot be legislated, it exists where parties to an agreement value its significance in driving mutually positive outcomes.

The debate concerning whether employees are more committed than employers cannot be settled by observing a single company, situation or experience. Just as it is possible that some employees could demonstrate exceptional commitment to their employer, some employers could similarly go out of their way to accommodate the needs and interests of their employees.

There will be instances where, as an employee, you will be expected to do more than is delimited in your job description and deal with different kinds of bosses, some of whom might be control freaks.

It will ultimately benefit you to learn how to adapt to working with different kinds of bosses and to go beyond the call of duty to achieve more than would otherwise be expected of you.

If, however, you are fully committed at work and find that your employer disregards their side of the bargain entirely, perhaps you should start warming up for your next assignment elsewhere.

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