Ever wish you could tell your boss exactly what’s on your mind and not get fired for it?
The Japanese culture includes a practice called “nomminication” to encourage just that. It’s a combination of “nomu” or drink and “communication”. Bosses periodically host their employees for an evening of cocktails. In this safe environment, employees can share whatever they’d like to say to their boss. No pay cuts or demotions or job transfers are allowed after. Thanks to Jack Maxwell’s I Don’t Drink Alone podcast for the enlightening culture lesson. As a communication consultant who’s spent way too much time working, the concept intrigues me.
The average U.S. worker spends about a quarter of their time working—more than 13 years over a 50 year career. Work could be so much more pleasant if employees could be honest without consequences.
Gillian, the heroin in my romantic suspense, Becker Circle, could’ve used a few frank conversations with her boss at her first job out of college. This unfair accounting firm boss dumped busy work on Gillian because Gillian was single and had time to work at night. What? She also was one of those bosses who watched the clock and jumped all over anyone who arrived five minutes late. Worst though, she swept a client’s obvious accounting dishonesty under the rug when Gillian found it during an audit, and then pulled her off the project.
I’m spoiled working for myself and thankful to not be forced to deal with awful bosses. I have fired clients. One egotistical CEO insisted after a successful media campaign that I contact the reporters who had written about them and ask them to correct the company name to appear in all capital letters. He wouldn’t let it go, so I let them go. Yelling is a deal breaker. When I still had bosses, one kept piling more work on me because I wasn’t married or a mom and “didn’t have anything else to do,” she said. I told her it was too much. At raise time, she gave me this tiny, insulting salary increase. Why? I wasn’t doing a good enough job to earn more. I walked out of her office and transferred to a more senior position working with a professional leader soon after, and never looked back.
The U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 49 years. Jobs are supposed to be fulfilling, not a sentence. Explore other opportunities inside and outside your company. If a reasonable conversation with your boss doesn’t work—with or without nomminication and cocktails—the grass may indeed be greener, as the saying goes. It definitely worked for Gillian.
Everyone’s had a boss story worth repeating. Share yours!
If life isn’t livable, change it!