There’s nothing quite like working for a boss who just doesn’t care much for you. The sad truth is how often this happens across the corporate world. It’s everywhere and in every company. I hear this from more clients than perhaps any other career concern.
Don’t Survive – Thrive!
The cool truth is we have examples dating back to the earliest scripture, providing insight into how we can hold up, no – wait – thrive, in such an environment. One such story is found between in Genesis chapters 29 through 30, the story of Jacob’s employment under his harsh and manipulative uncle Laban. This is a collective for those of us who have ever wondered how uncaring leaders get stationed over us in the chain of command. The moral of the story is insightful. The actions we can take are exciting and scary. The results we achieve are nothing short of God-inspired.
The Story Unfolds
Jacob is the son of Rebecca and Isaac. Under not-so-righteous conditions, Jacob leaves his home, implored by his mother, and travels to his far off Uncle Laban’s home. By the time he reaches his uncle’s land, he finds a well where shepherds are watering their flocks. He is stunned by a beauty named Rachel. He asks Laban for her hand in marriage and will, in exchange, work for him for seven years. Under not-so-righteous conditions, he is deceived by his uncle (the first of many deceptions) and ends up marrying her sister Leah.
Time for a Change
After many years’ work under Laban, and after many children with Leah and Rachel, Jacob decides it’s time to return home to continue raising his family. He was ready for a change.
Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.” – Genesis 30:25-26
Just like Jacob, we work hard. Just like Jacob, we assume our leaders (whether that’s our CEO, Board Chair, Field Manager, Regional VP etc.) will agree with our belief in our own hard work. Most times, it doesn’t work like that. In the case of Jacob, Laban had grown rich from Jacob’s talented management but seemed to overlook where the credit should go.