We give you a new iPhone for your job! Of course I said no.

In the past something happened at a company I worked for. Management decided to create a new department located in another nearby city and by email we were informed and ordered, to work from there.

There would be no fixed desks anymore and no corded phones. So they announced everyone should get a new iPhone. At first glance the offer was quite good: unlimited calls and data volume and you’d be allowed to use it for all your private stuff as well.

The day came to pick up the device. They wanted everyone to sign a contract for it. It contained a passage that said, from that time on a small amount would be cut from your salary each month because of possibility to use the new phone for private calls. This was not communicated beforehand.

And I didn’t need it. I already had a private phone and did not want to put personal stuff on a device for work. It also made no sense to me carrying around two devices. So why does the company – who asserts they really care for their employees – try to force me to use and pay for something I do not need or want?

Later I realized there were other people who did not want this, too. But everyone, about one hundred collegues, just silently agreed, signed and walked away.

I refused and simply said: “No. I don’t want that.”
Of course I asked politely about other possibilities for the new work environment. In the end it was possible not to put up with the “kind” offer.

Seems like a small incident, but for me it was a special moment of growth. At other times before that, I was too scared to decide for myself. But this time, despite the fear of what might happen, I chose to stick to what was true for me. Yes, there is always the possibility they reject or criticize you. Actually, a few years later, they kind of fired me because I challenged other practices in the company… But that’s alright.

The point of this little story: all the recent high-level talk and demands about employees taking responsibility and so on doesn’t amount to much. It’s about the ever so small day-to-day working experiences of each of us. There we can decide step by step not to let companies, management, coaches or whoever treat us like underage children anymore. Nobody will do it for us.

Frightning at frist, but mentally healthy and enjoyable when you get used to it : )

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