9 core rights for the modern day worker pursuing success
It’s 2016, the world is evolving at a seemingly unprecedented rate, and the traditional workforce is a thing of the past. As entrepreneurs, freelancers and social media moguls rise in the ranks- your rights as a working individual are changing. What was expected of your parents, and your grandparents, no longer applies to you. And for the first time in recent history, you have rights. Not only legal rights, but social rights, that apply to your work and your lifestyle.
This is a guide for the modern day worker, but it’s also a list for you to reflect upon. Your right to live as a feeling person, and most importantly your right to happiness, is important. While your career, or your job, should take precedence to many things- it shouldn’t take precedence to the quality of your life. The list below outlines various rights you have, designed to ensure that while you prosper financially, you don’t suffer emotionally as a consequence.
1. You have the right to be independent
While many managers will attempt to convince you that ‘teamwork is dreamwork’, and that working alone is usually unproductive, this simply isn’t true. Working independently is sometimes critical to the success of a project or job. There are many careers, particularly in today’s society, that rely on one person working alone.
Artists, philosophers and writers -to name a few- are all professionals who need space and separation in order to produce fruitful work. And as sources such as copyblogger.com remind us, careers involving artistry, such as writing, are often reliant on a professional working alone- in the strictest sense of the word. In their article ‘3 Reasons Why Great Writers Always Work Alone’, CopyBlogger reiterates the idea that “ the best work often comes from people who’ve been holed up — away from people”.
All this to say that if you feel as though working alone is the best way for you to produce a satisfying outcome, then you have the right to do so. In a world of social media, networking and constant communication- being solitary is often frowned upon; and shying away from the ‘herd’ mentality is viewed as rude. However, as a worker, you have the right to work alone. And what’s more, you have the right to be an independent within a team. This herd mentality doesn’t have to extend to you, you have the right to speak your mind and contribute your opinion-
within the bounds of respect and mutuality.
2. You have the right to success and happiness
This point may seem obvious, but surprisingly, many people in today’s society don’t take heed of this. Not only do you, as a living, breathing person, have a right to success and happiness- but you have a right to these things as much as anyone else in the world. You don’t have to beg or serve your ‘superiors’ regardless of your happiness, because you deserve as much success as they have. If working senselessly with no end in sight doesn’t bring you happiness- then don’t.
It’s that simple.
In order to achieve happiness and success decide what these things mean to you. Decide whether demanding what you want, and having the confidence to ask for things you truly need is what you view to be ‘success’. Decide if happiness stems from a career that you’re truly passionate about, that perhaps isn’t as financially viable as your current job, but that brings you great pleasure in life.
This sentiment, this idea, isn’t new or revolutionary. You can trace it all the way back to the United States constitution, that declares ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ to be ‘unaliable’ rights (meaning that we, as humans, don’t have the authority to change them). 200 years ago, the first immigrants who sailed to America put their pursuit of happiness and their right to life before anything else- so why can’t you?
3. You have the right to be listened to
And to be taken seriously. This world is harsh and often discriminatory, but no matter your background, physical appearance or level of education- you have the right to express yourself. It may not always seem that way, it may seem as if those who are ‘superior’ to you will dismiss your opinion, and silence your voice. But you have to remind yourself that this is your right as a human being, and to follow through on this.
If you don’t believe that your opinion matters, and that what you say should be listened to, then you will lose confidence. You’re self assurance will suffer, and your performance will weaken. Silencing yourself by denying yourself the right to talk will do nothing but harm you. As youqueen.com reminds us, not speaking your mind can also have negative psychological effects. In their article ‘7 reasons why you should always speak your mind’ they state that:
“When you have words that are left unsaid, it can create a great deal of anxiety for you. You go over them and over them time and time again, reliving the situation continuously and playing out different outcomes in your mind.
And, each time you think about it, you get more stressed because you wish you would have handled things differently. You turn it into this monstrous situation that eats at you from the inside out, all because you didn’t say what you should’ve said while you had the opportunity.”
Does this sound healthy to you? No? Then get talking!
4. You have the right to get what you paid for
The beauty of today’s society is the idea of reciprocity: and you have a right to it. Whether you’ve paid in a conventional currency, such as money, or an alternative currency such as you’ve paid attention; you’ve paid through service or you’ve paid through help- you have the right to receive it back. And you should demand a return if you don’t see one.
Likewise, if you receive money or information or even respect- you have the responsibility to pay it back. Don’t break this cycle, and don’t dismiss the importance of reciprocating what you get. View life as a circle of debt and return. What you owe, you should pay back- and what others owe you should also be paid in full.
However, the cycle doesn’t rely on two people. If someone has done a good deed to you, you could do the same thing to someone else entirely. A good example of this is the idea of ‘Paying It Forward’. The website http://payitforwardday.co.uk/ likes to reiterate this sentiment. They have a day each year where they encourage people to perform acts of random kindness to 3 more people, and ask that they do the same to you.
5. You have the right to have the rights
And this extends far beyond the 9 rights listed in this article. You have legal rights, social rights and ethical entitlements as a human being. These aren’t restricted because of your gender, or your age, or your race. Despite what certain members of society may shout, your rights are bestowed upon you by the world.
These are often called ‘natural rights’, which some believe are created by a higher being, and which others believe are simply the laws of the universe. Regardless, don’t let anyone tell you differently. No one can argue that you, just like every other human being on this planet, have a right to live your life. That you, just like every prince and president, have a legal right to free will (within reason).
You have rights: Learn them and Live them.
6. You have the right to decline
Or more simply, you have the right to say ‘no’. We often forget this, especially in a world where saying no is viewed as being negative. But it isn’t, it’s your right to reject a request without feeling bad about it. Don’t let guilt rule your life, don’t let ‘feeling bad’ control you. If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel belittled or if you simply don’t want to do something: then don’t. It’s your right to say yes or no to whatever you want.
This is a philosophy so widely accepted these days that even the British National Health Service likes to remind us of the value of saying no- especially in regards to romantic relationships. On the Live Well page of http://www.nhs.uk, the health service recommends that you practice saying no. Some phrases they recommend you using are “No, I don’t want to.” or “No, it doesn’t feel right” or quite simply “No” (thanks).
Whether it’s your boss, or your friend, it doesn’t matter. If something goes against your values, beliefs or levels or comfort: then say no. Say it respectfully or forcefully depending on the situation, but learn to decline.
7. You have the right to ask anything you want
Asking for help is often viewed as a weakness. But it isn’t. Asking for help, asking for respect, asking for love. These are signs of a confident person who knows what they want. The sharing economy reiterates this feeling, as it’s an economy based on the idea that it’s okay for you to help me- just as it’s okay for me to help you.
The alternative is not asking. But what does that accomplish? Your needs aren’t met. You work isn’t to the standard that it could be, without someone else’s input, it’s missing expertise. Suddenly, you’re unfulfilled.
We all have strengths, but we also all have weaknesses. What you may be unfamiliar with, or inexpert at- someone else may be extremely versed in. This means that if you believe that you have the right to ask, and you do ask, then you will prosper. And so will the other person. Our society is constantly moving closer, we’re learning to rely on each other more- and this is certainly for the better. So jump on board, and if you need something: ask! But remember, others have the right to decline, so be prepared to have backup options.
8. You have the right to fail
Most of us are scared of failure, and sometimes this fear can stop you from trying something in the first place. But failure is an important part of life, as is imperfection, so don’t be threatened by the possibility that you may not succeed as fully as you wish to. You can learn and profit from the experience, regardless of whether it’s a successful one, so the outcome can often prove irrelevant.
Humans aren’t perfect, and there’s beauty in their flaws. We have the capacity to succeed, but we also have the capacity to fail. And this is your right as a person, to not be as good as you intended to be. You also have the right to be wrong, regardless of the expectations of others.
yourcourageouslife.com really summarizes this idea best, in their brief article titled ‘The right to fail’. They state that:
“People have given me the right to fail–to fail relationships, to fail jobs, to fail as a friend.
Every time someone has respected my right to fail, to make choices that ultimately lead to things I didn’t want, it’s been painful. I’ve had the thought that I wished someone would’ve helped me, stopped me, saved me. In hindsight, however, I see how it is that every failure can be a gift–if that’s what we choose”.
So choose that gift, and embrace the fact that you as a person, truly have the right to fail.
9. You have the right not to push or follow common trends
You also have the right to be an individual. Your values, your belief system and what you prioritize in life is what makes you you. So don’t fight for material possessions if they don’t bring you happiness, and abandon all conventional beliefs if they don’t bring you joy. Convention and ‘trends’ are simply based on the needs of others, but these may not be suited to you. Going to college, for example, is a popular option for young adults- but would you recommend that a talented young carpenter go to college to pursue a career in academia? Absolutely not, you would recommend that they follow their strengths and passions.
This applies to everyone, be it children or adults. If you feel as if social convention doesn’t align with your values or your strengths- then disregard it. If working nine to five doesn’t garner results from you, then invent your own hours. If dressing in traditional workwear makes you uncomfortable, or stifles your creativity, then ditch the suit and wear what you choose to.
All of the rights listed above are based on the very common principle that life is too short. Your time is so fleeting, and your potential is often limited by society. These rights, however, are real. They were designed to help you pursue happiness, achieve personal success and enjoy the benefit of being alive. So next time you’re working in your office, depressed and unsure why, question whether these 9 rights (or the absence of them) could potentially be affecting the quality of your life. Chances are that if you aren’t allowing yourself the right to experience at least some of them, then you’re not allowing yourself to the possibility to achieve happiness.