What does ‘working for someone’ mean to me.
To me, it means a transaction of employment – between an employer, who pays you for X – and the employee who provides the X.
To me , it means almost all the power in the hands of the employer and almost none in the hands of the employee.
To me, it means employment as a gift to the employee – and seen by the employee as such. An idea that has been seeded by successive generations of parents into their children and nurtured by governments – keen to shift numbers off lists
To me, ‘working for someone’ is littered with double standards. When things work, it was the ‘someone’s’ idea and their process that succeeded, but when they don’t it was the employee that screwed up.
It is the reason – I believe – that so many people hate work and see it simply as a means to an economic end.
To me, it is top down and chain of command structures and hierarchy, everyone having a boss and a pyramid of egos and arses trying to cover themselves.
“Working for someone” is about stuff that makes no sense but has sensible people accepting it as ‘that’s how things are done around here’.
It is ‘keep your head down and you might just make it through’.
To me, ‘working for someone’ is much more than a contractual transaction, it is a mindset of many employers and ’employees’. So much so that even when open collaboration and flatter structures are offered, employees – like Seligman’s dog – continue their learned helplessness.
Why I prefer “working with someone”
Because it is centered on mutual respect and shared destiny – we recognise we are in this together.
Because risk is shared and so is reward.
Because ‘working with someone’ recognises that all work and all economic activity involving more than one person is fundamentally a partnership.
Because we give ourselves the best chance to create something so amazing, neither of us could have individually created it by ourselves.
Because it is flat even as our contract means you pay my wages.
Because people who love ‘working with’ other people are actually pretty awesome to work with (and even work for!)
So, what do these terms mean to you and which do you prefer?