You should be straightforward

We’ve all heard this at one time or another in our lives – relationships, from friends, from family, etc.

Here’s the thing – if everyone is brought up to be straightforward, why is society so hesitant to say what they want?

If an employee cannot be straightforward with their employer, or if the employer isn’t willing to hear the employee out, no one will be happy. Quite frankly, there are far too many DevOps and cloud jobs today for an employee to stick around somewhere they don’t want to be due to poor leadership/management.

If an engineer wants to live a happy working life, they must change their approach to how they think about employers.

Employers Need To Be Open-Minded

There are certain types of people who automatically think like an entrepreneur.

There are certain types of people who automatically think like an employee.

When you think like an employee, it’s typically something like this:

  • That’s my boss and I have to listen to whatever they say
  • I have to stay in my lane
  • They pay my salary, so I have to do what’s asked of me

Employees typically feel trapped in their job due to security, stability, and money reasons. The idea is to not feel this way and to do that, you need to be financially stable and have confidence (don’t mistake confidence with arrogance).

It’s a known fact right now that there are WAY more jobs than there are engineers to fill them.

The pinnacle of freedom in life is to not feel weighed down by that.

You must keep an open mind and not think that you have to say yes to everything.

Don’t Be Demanding, But Be Demanding

The term demanding always feels uncomfortable. There are people out there who are demanding, and there are people out there that may think they’re demanding, but they’re actually just stern and know what they want.

There’s a huge difference (you can be stern without being mean or arrogant to others).

So here’s a question for you:

If employers are so demanding (or stern), why can’t employees be? Well, this is because employers think I’m paying this person a salary, I can ask for whatever I want.

This is true, but guess what?

The employee is doing the work and making the employer’s dream a reality, so in that case, an employee should be able to ask for whatever they want as well.

Here’s the kicker – an employer can tell an employee no, which is perfectly fine, but an employee should be able to tell an employer no as well.

This level of confidence comes from being financially stable and confident.

Engineers Can’t Be Afraid

One of the biggest fears that run through people’s heads is I’m going to get fired if I say something or I’m going to get in trouble.

Yeah, maybe. Maybe you do have a boss that has such a large neurotic ego that if you speak up or don’t act exactly how they want you to, they’ll fire you.

Guess what?


Who wants to work for someone like that anyway? Especially with all of the open jobs in today’s world and the increasing ability to work remotely.

That’s the absolute worst-case scenario though (it’s getting increasingly harder for employers to fire employees without probable cause without getting fired, even in an at-will state). When I was younger, I was SO scared to do this. To speak up. To be a human with concerns. Then I realized – the more I did it, the more clear it became that others may be feeling the same way I was and I was allowed to speak up.

I know this is easier said than done, but if you have enough money in the bank and you have the stability, you can be more choosy with what you do in life. This is the ultimate freedom.

Don’t be afraid to get fired or think something is going to happen if you say no.

Everyone Should Be Happy

Doesn’t it seem like happiness in the workplace is literally the least important thing in some organizations?

Everyone’s just walking around angry, grabbing donuts from the kitchen in disgust, and sitting at their desk watching the clock.


Why is it so normal for employers to not care about the happiness of engineers (or employees in general) when they’re the ones literally shipping and maintaining the product that’s making the company money?

It’s pretty strange, but it’s pretty clear why – communication.

An employee AND an employer should have the ability to speak with each other to ultimately get what they both want. It can’t be one-sided and there must be valid communication between the person and the organization. Otherwise, everyone is just keeping their feelings internal and coming to work in disgust.

If they can’t come to an agreement, the employer and employee should walk away from each other, and that should be fine. It shouldn’t be looked at as negative or positive. It should be looked at as an opportunity to get a better job.

Closing Thoughts

As an engineer or an employee in general, you’re sometimes told just kiss your boss’s ass or just do what you’re told.

That’s a very limited life, and quite frankly, a very unsatisfying one.

You have a job to do, so you can’t exactly tell someone no every time, but you should be able to say no. If you can’t stay at work late because you’re picking up your kid, you shouldn’t have to. If you’re asked to do something in a timeline that’s unrealistic, you should be able to tell your boss that the timeline is unrealistic.

There should be open communication in the workplace.

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