As I leave my latest role in the provincial government, I think perhaps I can be more plain about my experience. It’s said that one of the biggest challenges with recruiting is the tendency for the employer to employ the “bait and switch,” whereby they talk a game that isn’t the one they practice. One kind of employment experience is presented, another is on offer.
I think I’ve seen that first-hand. The first reason I give as to why I think it happened would be my own “grass is greener” lense, whereby I overlook the reality of the situation for its prospects, then kick myself for not being critical enough of the opportunity before signing on the dotted line. There are also circumstances that change the role once you get there. Government is especially vicious at redefining roles without the slightest consultation.
There’s also the question of whether the big stuff works as described. There’s the philosophy of how decisions get made, or the level of trust inherently given to an employee. There’s the vision for the organization and whether daily actions are aligned with this vision or pay it lip service.
I think it’s really easy for a hiring manager or an employer to have a real intellectual commitment to a higher purpose sort of role. All the buzzwords and catch-phrases are there. All the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed on the mission and vision statements. However, cashing those cheques is a lot different than writing them, and the employees you’re hiring will immediately experience dissonance if word and deed are not congruent.
This is costly. An unhappy employee that feels they’ve been misled under-performs. Well, I did, anyway.
So, this is called the “bait and switch,” except I think “bait and switch” implies a level of forethought and control that is often nonexistent in the formation of the employer/employee relationship. A better, less catchy title would be “deluded perception and inability to control reality,” as in, “I was excited about my first day, but then they made it clear that the job was more about keeping up appearances. They got me with the old ‘deluded perception and inability to control reality’.”
This doesn’t just go for hiring, of course. If word and deed aren’t aligned in any relationship, it’s a source of frustration and contention. If you’ve got drama in your life, it’s probably worth doing a gut-check. Are you pulling the “deluded perception and inability to control reality” ploy?