At the beginning of this month, the government increased the qualifying period for employee protection from unfair dismissal from one year to two years. Among the Chancellor George Osborne’s justifications for this, the one that most caught my attention was his comment that employers can’t afford to take on unemployed people because ‘they fear they are going to be taken to a tribunal’.
This comment reminded me of people who hold back on entering into relationships because of the fear of acrimonious divorce. Of course there will be some who hold this viewpoint, but despite potential pitfalls most people go through life with a more optimistic attitude and give relationships a try.
Lasting relationships, whether at work or personal, are serious things and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Unless you’re one of those strange individuals who actually enjoy constant fighting, careful consideration needs to be given to choosing someone who’s compatible. Finding someone who isn’t right and believing you can fundamentally change them is doomed to failure.
It’s also important to remember that both sides bring hopes and fears to a relationship. Some of these are based on their own experience, some on the experience of people they know, and some possibly based on urban myths. As people get to know each other better, the truth of these is tested, and although establishing trust and respect can be left to chance, conscious effort and commitment is usually needed – not just at the start, but throughout the relationship.
If unfortunately things don’t work out, it helps to keep things as amicable as possible, even if it means making concessions. Being determined to win usually prolongs the pain of separation – no-one really wins in either divorce courts or tribunals.
Like any relationship, employing someone requires constant attention to keep it alive. Blind optimism is perhaps naive, but constant suspicion and lack of trust will inevitably kill it.
Tim Schuler is a coach, facilitator and business partner. He specialises in bringing out the very best in managers, whether it’s their first management role or something they’ve been doing for a while. More information is available from www.tschuler.co.uk