As we mentioned in a previous post, if we don’t use perks at work for our own benefit our jobs will use perks to help us work more and more to their benefit. If we are not careful perks at works can turn us into slaves without our awareness of it.
Think about the perks at your work or other social institutions. Do they work for you or simply work you? Do they benefit you or your work? It’s up to us to manage ourselves to ensure we invest time and energy in a manner that serves our purposes. When we start our jobs or serve at some social institution, we enter an unwritten contract with expectations on both sides. Often, expectations are not clearly understood resulting stress and strain on both parties in the contract.
In the same way we manage a contract between ourselves and our employer, we also manage at contract between our past, present, and future selves. We all have desires and fantasies we want to bring about in our lives. We may call them goals and objectives or just keep the images in our heads so we create the lives we yearn for. Then reality sets in. The difference between our expectations of ourselves is a dynamic tension we can use to better ourselves or use to justify not being successful. To manage our situation, why wouldn’t we write up a contract between who we are and what we expect to become?
There’s a great quote Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi shares in Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning from Mike Murray “ a man determined to stick by his guns:”
The contract that I’ve always had with myself is this: I’ll work as hard as I can work on the job, then I’m also going to go home and have my family and personal life. And if that’s not good enough for the company they have a choice. The choice is, they can ask me to leave. But I’m never going to win the award for the person who put in the longest hours on the job. And I can’t let my ego feel bad about that, because I’ve chose a different yardstick that I’m going to run my life by.
Once we make a contract with ourselves we are better prepared to manage the contracts we engage in with the rest of the world. Forming a contract with ourselves creates a foundation upon which we can create the life we intend.