Being Frank

Currently, we live in a world where the living costs keep changing from month to month, and usually, they don’t go lower. You must have noticed that as well as I have. And because of that I decided to ask for a higher salary than I was offered.

In many countries and for many people, the situation did start as uncomfortable but has become more dire as time goes on, and the prices keep going up. Just recently, there was an article in a Finnish newspaper that people have to dig into their savings to manage monthly costs. And that is if people have savings. This has led for more and more of us having to resort to some kind of assistance, such as getting food aid.

Which kind of brings me to a point.

I used to be wary of a long probation period with work contracts because I have seen that being misused so many times. Usually, it is the employer side that does the misuse by making people work until they are one day short of the probation period end and then, all of a sudden, they are being told that the contract will be terminated. Now, during recent years, my mind has changed.

When one applies for a job, one expects to be given all the particulars so that one can make up a decision based on realities instead of dreams and make-believe. Right? And if this information is not given freely, one needs to have the security of the probation period. This is like any new relationship: first, you are all head-over-heels about the new situation, and as you usually are in training, you don’t even see everything that happens in the background.

Only after a longer period of time do you start to see the reality of the workplace. And only then, like the President of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinistö, famously said: the masks are removed. Hopefully, everything is well and good, but what if there are too many skeletons in a closet? What happens then?

Myself, I am a believer in open communication between an employee and an employer. Earlier this year, I applied for a position, and during the process, I made a salary request. I could have just pulled the numbers from a lottery ticket, but I didn’t. Instead, I based the request on facts and I gave rough calculations to base the figure on something tangible.

But did I get the position? No. Most likely because of my salary request, maybe not. Cannot be my experience as two of my colleagues were picked for the job. But I don’t think I will ever get to know the real reason behind the decision, and that makes me sad and annoyed.

I am not saying that we should be an open book, no. This is because there are so many people in the world who are envious of our positions and successes, even if they have their own luck. And also, sometimes the knowledge we have should be used for our own advance, and sometimes our knowledge should be shared so that our whole team will succeed. Am I contradicting myself?

It may seem like it, but in a longer run, the knowledge is something that can not be locked away. When you are a new employee and start your training, you are painted a nice picture of an ideal work place and team, but if things are not well and good inside the team, you will notice them. Inevitably. In a worst-case scenario, you will end up resenting your workplace and immediately start to scour the adverts for a new one. And who does this serve? Not your new employer, not your previous employer, and definitely not you.

When facing this situation, you should do what Sima Auntie from Mumbai teaches: talk. She may give this advice to young people looking for spouses, but the reason behind it is the same: when we communicate openly and frankly, we can solve even complex situations and have a better outcome, which serves everyone.

Would we rather solve the situation, address the problem, and try to create an atmosphere that will serve a common good, or would we make sure that the employee in question feels it necessary to pack and leave? Or in a relationship, would we rather give up on the first hurdle or solve the problems together to create longer-term happiness?

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