• Lisa Walden

What We Mean By “Helping People Create A Workplace That Doesn’t Suck”

We get all sorts of reactions to our company tagline.

“What do you mean, exactly?”

“Umm… doesn’t that ruffle feathers?”

“Impossible quest. Unless you’re miracle workers. Are you miracle workers?”

While we are not, in fact, miracle workers or magicians, we do strongly subscribe to the idea that work not only doesn’t have to suck, but can actually be rewarding and enjoyable.

Quick rewind to the genesis of Good Company Consulting. Hannah and I have spent the last 7+ years studying sociology, and more specifically, people at work. In that time, we noticed an alarming trend. Almost everyone we spoke to was unhappy in their jobs. It wasn’t limited to front-line employees, but people at all levels within an organization. And even those in our personal circles repeat a similar sentiment. The common refrains are “work is the worst,” “I hate my boss,” “is it Friday yet?” “Have you seen this meme? #Accurate.”

The idea that “work sucks” seems to be accepted as fact. Recently, a friend of mine said to me “Meh, work is work. You show up, do your job, do it well, and if you’re lucky, find friends to commiserate with about how much you hate it there.” Wow. Inspirational stuff right there.

As a person that’s never been comfortable accepting the status quo as a given just because “it’s the way it’s always been done,” all this grumbling and complaining felt (and still feels like) a call to action. After some research, (by some I mean ALL the research), and comparing notes with Hannah about the main points of tension and contention, we realized that it was simpler than we’d first imagined. People just want to be seen as people.

That’s it. As simple and as complicated as that. They want to be valued, they want to be treated fairly and kindly, they want to feel heard, they want leaders who see them for their full, complex selves, and not just a worker bee that needs to be dinged for showing up four minutes late.

With that in mind, and diluted to its finest point…

In A Workplace That Sucks:

  • Employees are treated like productivity robots, not humans

  • Managers and leaders talk more than their employees

  • Fear and intimidation are used as motivators

  • People are afraid to take risks

  • Perfectionism is a goal that should be met

  • Vacation and any other PTO is looked down upon (and unused hours are a badge of honor)

  • Working hard = working all the hours

In A Workplace That Doesn't Suck:

  • Employees are seen as whole humans, not resources

  • Mindful communication happens regularly

  • Empathy and kindness lead the way in all interactions

  • Psychological safety reigns supreme

  • People at all levels embrace vulnerability

  • There are clear boundaries that encourage calm and protect people’s time (both at and away from work)

  • Working hard = working effectively

Many of us will spend about a third of our lives at work. ONE THIRD OF YOUR LIFE! (Pardon the caps… it’s just a lot). You can either read that as a sad statistic, or as a wake-up call. Does work have to have the same connotation as other four-letter words? Can it be good instead? Might it even be great?

We think so. And it’s literally the whole mission behind Good Company Consulting.