Employment Definition: Believe it or not, there are as many definitions of employment as there are employers and employees. The important thing to focus on is, that in professional collaborations, you really understand each other’s definitions of the work involved.
My husband has a saying (warning – swear alert): ” Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”. I believe this meme accurately describes the cause of most wars and other human conflicts. We humans are only really adept at seeing the world from our own point of view. Our own point of view is only one of millions. Our own point of view in time and space is unlikely to be the same as the point of view of any other individual in their time and space. If we assume that we share a point of view, we can often be sadly, if subtly, mistaken. What we need to practise doing is expressing our understanding of said point of view. What we need to be doing regularly clarifying in order to understand the other’s point of view. Using both the aforementioned pieces information, the alliance can be designed together.
Most humans skip these steps. We are too busy, too stressed, too up against deadlines, juggling too many things simultaneously or too exhausted by the end of the day, to check out the other person’s ‘reality’. I don’t believe it’s just me that experiences this phenomenon. Our lives are all very busy. It is often the people closest to us or with whom we have so much in common that assumption runs riot. It is when someone is the same age or gender, of the same social standing or ethnicity, that we jump to our conclusions. When we do so, there can be all sorts of fallout.
Contracts go some way to clarifying the boundaries and enabling the necessary conversations. The only other way I know is to communicate what you mean by employment and to ask for clarity regarding their employment definition. Unless you have this conversation really regularly, there is a real danger of employment being about ‘Us & Them” instead of being The Thing That ‘We’ Are Doing Together. Clarity regarding each other’s employment definition is the most effective way to meet the professional ambitions of everyone involved.