Signs You are Going Nowhere in Your Current Career – What We Can Learn from Theory X and Theory Y

By | October 15, 2014

Kool Derby
When you wake on Monday morning and get ready for a new work week. Friday seems more than a continent away. You are a little scared about getting to the office today; after all, you procrastinated on important work the week before, and you are certain your boss will ask for a status update.

So, you spend most of the morning thinking of a good excuse to share with the boss. Someone failed to share important information that you needed for the report. Better not use that one. It might get an innocent person in trouble.

How about blaming technology? The shared drive was unavailable most of the week. Nope! The boss probably went to the shared to access other information. She’ll know you are being less-than-truthful.
You’re worried! It’s not manic Monday! It’s panic Monday! What difference does it make? You don’t like working here anyway! Getting fired might be a blessing in disguise.

Well, it’s time to get out of bed. Perhaps a good, hot shower will help you relax a bit, and the soothing water hitting your head might help you think of a good excuse to use with your boss.

Theory X and Y

In the 1960’s, Douglas McGregor, of the MIT Sloan School of Management, described contrasting models of motivation, which he called Theory X and Theory Y. In basic terms, Theory X argues that people are inherently lazy. They don’t like work,show up mostly because they get paid to be there, and don’t want to think. They want to be told what to do.

Theory Y is different. If you are Y, you are ambitious and motivated. You love challenges. Your boss will give you assignments because she knows they will get done right and on time. Theory Y people encourage others to succeed, promoting a healthy work environment.

If you feel like Theory X, you’ve hit a dead end. You don’t like the work that you do, and your employer has figured out that you are in coast mode. You are no longer looking for challenges, and spend most of your time clock-watching. When you aren’t looking at the hands on the clock, you are on Facebook or texting.

Everything Seems to Tick You Off!

When things are going well, very little seems to bother you. In fact, you take the high-road, and ignore those who try to get under your skin. When you are happy at work, you seek challenges, and you find the good in what people do. You look for training opportunities, and even seek to mentor new employees. In short, you practice Theory Y.

However, for those people in a rut, their bosses, co-workers, security guards, cleaning people, and everything else, irritates them. They are not happy with anyone, including themselves. They think that someone has an agenda if he happens to compliment their work. They are motivated by only two things: Friday and payday. If they happen on the same day, even better!

Pursue Theory Y Opportunities

The passing of time is inevitable. When you find yourself in a situation in which your career has hit a brick wall and you are no longer happy, make a change. The change doesn’t necessarily mean finding a new position. In most cases, you have to change your mindset. You must self-evaluate to determine what you are doing to cause your feelings about your career.

Avoid taking too long performing this exercise. You don’t have much time to waste. An early and important step is to stop blaming others. The reason you are where you are today is largely based on the decisions you have made. To get back on the right track, decide you no longer will tolerate a Theory X mentality that allows others to dictate your career success.

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