When Ross and Rachel “took a break,” the reality that the relationship might not last started to sink in. For all of the ways in which Ross had shown his love for Rachel since she was in high school (and caused the world to love him back) and for the progress that Rachel made in understanding her feelings for him, a major setback was occurring. Could the relationship really be the fairy tale again?
Uncertainty has its place in relational advancement. Whether it’s a marriage, a career, a church or a team, doubt about your fit for the future is real. This might be unnerving for some, but it’s true. Haven’t you sat back and thought, “Is this the job for me?” Asking the question is healthy. Consideration in areas of usefulness, connection and advancement make sense. Is this company able to utilize me in the ways I would like to, or do I want to give more of myself (time, talents, and treasure) to this company’s mission? The giftedness of the individual and the purpose of the organization should be reviewed for alignment regularly.
However, it does not mean that it’s a negative position. We have gotten too used to this type of consideration ending in break-up. As such, we’ve believed that even asking the question means it’s over. Ross and Rachel aren’t real, but their relationship (at least as we know) ended in a commitment to each other. Is it only on television that it’s possible? I hope not.
In our companies, there are daily issues that arise – conflict over management style, turnover, gossip, etc. Professionals should sit back and consider what’s going on. The issues that rise to the top after investigation are addressable. True that one of the ways to address this situation might be termination, but it is not the only option. Sometimes a person has a bad day. Sometimes expectations were not clearly shared. Sometimes there are outside elements to the formula for success that we cannot control. A machete to the relationship is not usually the right answer.
It is awful to worry when walking into work that Ross or Rachel might ask you for a break. No one seeks this. And yet, it might just be the consideration of future relationship that helps aright a ship’s course. Neither Rachel as a spoiled brat nor Ross as an awkward, self-centered goof was the exclusive reason for the consideration. It added to it, but the deeper questions were ones of support and commitment. These are the same questions employees and employers have for one another.
As an employee:
- Am I valued?
- How does the company really know what I do or who I am?
- Am I being taken advantage of? Is that the company’s fault or mine?
As an employer:
- Do my employees get why we have the mission we have?
- Is compensation the only way my employees receive affirmation? Have we allowed this to be true, if so?
- Am I holding back on resources because I fear my employees will leave?
Of course, there are more questions to ask on either side of the table, but these catch some of the initial consideration that should happen. Relationships, whether between two people or between a person and his/her company, take thought. Think through why you might not be connecting as you once had. Termination, as divorce or resignation, is the swifter option, but may be the less than ideal long term response. Step back and question.
The uncertainty ought to lead to clarity. Results from the clarity might vary, but the confidence to follow through will be stronger. Having been through the questioning process will give you peace knowing that you really thought through this, which is confidence-producing. Uncertainty has a particular nuance of excitement to it as it offers the opportunity to relent to “not knowing” what to do. If your response were to be perfect each time, where are the opportunities to learn? By having the uncertainty, we get to step back and research our companies, our relationships, and ourselves.
Ross and Rachel didn’t corner the market on relational uncertainty. It’s been appealing to us as viewers of movies and television, as readers of novels, as writers of stories. Plot lines revolve around relationships and have for centuries. Turn off the “Friends” reruns and pick up a Shakespeare play…any will do. Wherefore art thou, Ross?