Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Career Killing Sentence You Should Never Say

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is again making news. The company announced last week that Yahoo's liberal work-from-home policy will end on June 1st.

The New York Times reports:
"Parking lots and entire floors of cubicles were nearly empty because some employees were working as little as possible and leaving early. Then there were the 200 or so people who had work-at-home arrangements. Although they collected Yahoo paychecks, some did little work for the company and a few had even begun their own start-ups on the side."
What got my attention was not the policy change, but the report that it angered some employees who say they went to work for Yahoo because they were allowed to work from home. That complaint implies that it is unfair for employers to impose change on employees. Think about that for a moment. Imagine being  charged with fixing a very broken company and being told by employees that you shouldn't make changes. The logical conclusion that the CEO would come to would be this: We'd be better off if some of our employees left. Mayer hasn't said that, but I'd bet that's what she is thinking.

It reminded me of a complaint made by some of my coworkers when I was at Hearst Media Services. HMS is in the business of assisting business owners making the transition from traditional print advertising to Internet advertising. There was a lot of change over the three and a half years I worked there and with each change, someone would complain:

"I didn't sign up for this!"

That cringe-inducing sentence made me wonder every time I heard it if the person realized what they were communicating to the company. What it says is: "I don't like change. I don't deal with it well and I won't accept it without complaint." It's a career killer.