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Scaling The Ladder


Your company owes you nothing

Three things you need to re-think as an employee to succeed

Many of us work with the idea that we have been doing a good job and soon have expectations that our work should be rewarded.

When we aren’t rewarded according to our standards, however, our ‘dark side’ slowly begins to kick in. It often starts with feelings of demoralisation followed by decreased performance, late coming and absenteeism, resignation attempts and eventually the spread of the what’s-the-point-of-working-so-hard virus.

Here’s the deal about our jobs – our companies owe us fair wages as well as the respect that goes to someone who will devote themselves to do the job and to do it well – anything more is a bonus for us to be grateful about.

I get that it can be absolutely demotivating to work so hard and not be recognised nor rewarded nor acknowledged while our KPIs get heavier, pressure gets more intense and the deadlines get tighter.

I also get that at times, all our hard work seem to only benefit the bosses and the organisation.

However, our companies still owe us nothing. And neither does life in general.

The point I’m trying to make is, a business utilises human capital to service its purpose of profit, and in return, human capital utilises businesses to support their livelihood.

As employees, we can gain success in this transaction by taking personal control of our career rather than placing hopeful demands on the organisation.

Here are 3 things we really need to re-think as an employee to succeed:


1) Own your ship

The father of modern business management, Peter Drucker, could not have been more right when he said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

During one of my sessions, a group of disgruntled employees were sharing their grievances about why they had “no mood” to work hard. They were asked to group and present their views on, “What would you advise your child if he/she were experiencing something similar?”

Although it was a slightly painful activity as it challenges their current beliefs and feelings, they concluded that their major advise would be to “Own Your Ship” taken from the word ownership.

To own your ship parallels to taking control of yourself in the space of your career.

My advise on top of this would be to take a good look at your ship, make it a personal promise to be the best ship there ever existed, then create opportunities to get your ship to exactly where ever it desires every single day.


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2)Learn to surf

I was once faced with the challenge of winning and leading a new, travel intensive project just weeks leading to my “big fat Indian wedding”.

Managing both demanding responsibilities with high standards seemed impossible and I was about to turn down the project opportunity I had been long waiting and working for.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf,” said my mentor, Kevin Menon, who was heading the project with me.

He was advising me to have the courage to go forward, especially when what I really felt like was to back away.

And so I did. I was stunned that all that it really took to achieve the seemingly impossible was to re-organise my time, get immense support from my family and manage my emotions better. By doing so, I gained both valuable professional experience and a magical wedding celebration – it felt like I had achieved it all!

Only by doing it did I truly experience the criticality taking up challenges with the mindset that there is always a way to conquer it.

My learning was also that when we have the courage to take on challenges head on, in Paolo Coelho’s worlds, the whole world will conspire in an effort to help you.


3)Rule the market

I was once tasked to train a group of service staff at a bank who happened to complain about their unreasonable and unattainable targets.

After listening, I asked if anyone in the department regionally had been able to accomplish the target.

Almost reluctantly, two people in the room raised their hands as their colleagues jokingly said “spoil marketlah you”. Not not only were they able to exceed their targets, they were consistently getting positive feedback from customers.

Furthermore, they were the most excited to be at the training, believing there was so much more to learn to improve their performance.

To me, they “ruled the market” and I’m certain that these two would have first dips in gaining recognition and rewards for their work sooner or later.

These two individuals did not expect anything from the company – in fact they felt that they owed their performance to the company, their customers and themselves.


To conclude, your company owes you nothing and neither does life. You owe it to yourself to own your ship, conquer challenges and rule the market. This will allow you to not only feel in control but will also allow you to by perform at an unthinkable level.

By consistently having this mindset, it is inevitable that by the time you are done, the world will feel like it owes you one!


Hetal Doshi – Suhana Daswani is a professionally qualified organisational psychologist, certified professional coach, and the founder of O Psych Sdn Bhd, with an expertise in work performance, team dynamics and emotional intelligence. To get in touch with her, drop an email to editor@mystarjob.com.


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