What was your last random performance

Achievement is not recognized

After a year of professional experience, I would like to pursue a part-time job as a freelancer, as I had to find out in my professional life that above-average performance or hard work is not rewarded or not desired.

In the Internet forums on this topic, the name of the part-time activity is always used to refer to business start-ups. It would be very important to me to receive information and practical advice on legal and insurance-related aspects. Which advice centers are there on this topic?


I was just starting out, as were the other experienced managers and employees. Nice - but did we think that after only one year of practice we would have seen through “professional life” and now we know whether and how performance is rewarded or “not wanted”? After only one year of studying you are at the end of the second semester - do you know what “studying” will be like one day? Or the young man who has been going “with girls” for a year - does he now know how it is with women in life?

So to stick with my professional life: I've been with it for 38 years - and still don't know everything. In any case, a lot of knowledge has been added in the thirty-seven years since completing the first twelve months in the first job.

This, dear sender, will be the same for you! Therefore I say to you with all serenity: Judging by the overall possible knowledge about this topic, you know almost nothing about "life at work" - your observations so far are random experiences at a point that arose through random selection, and you result from a period of time within which, according to the rules, you could not have received any real reward for your commitment and performance, even if you had encountered exemplary conditions there. So please be very careful with judgments that are too quick, based on an observation base that is too small.

But I did not say that what you realized must be wrong: at this one point and after this one year, an impression of how you got it can certainly come to mind. You are just not allowed to generalize that with regard to “professional life”.

So my first piece of advice is hold on where you are for at least the first two years. Make sure that you earn yourself a very good rating there - if you don't ask for a great deal in return, the better and easier for you.

By the way: You will have a boss who has colleagues - and another boss. He also has colleagues. And they all deserve more than you, have been promoted - maybe they were better than the others, maybe their achievements were wanted and rewarded as well?

And if you think you should go after two years, go somewhere else. In a company of a completely different type, perhaps in a different industry. Fight there to take on more responsibility, for example to participate or to lead subprojects in a demanding project. Where you are challenged correctly and to your limits, where you - in moderation - can make a difference, make a difference, and leave a small "trace".

And do that for another four to five years, then try to find a team or group leader internally or externally with professional responsibility for the work of others.

Then you will gradually see that performance and commitment in this system are fundamentally worthwhile - but are not rewarded every time, and certainly not every day. It is therefore important to provide preliminary work that will hopefully be rewarded “one day”.

You have (estimated) to “perform” more than others for about three years - then it can (!) Happen that you suddenly get the project management and the corresponding salary increase. After all, you have to work for an entire course of study and make an above-average effort so that at the end of the exam, for example, you get a 1.8 - and a top employer who "rewards" by being hired and integrated in an environment rich in opportunities.

My second advice relates to your approach: “They don't reward performance and commitment here, so I still work as a freelancer on the side.” I consider this a “crazy idea”, and a dangerous one at that.

The story is already legally complicated enough, in any case you should seek advice from a lawyer beforehand.

But regardless of this, you should assume that your employer expects to buy around 100% of your gainful workforce for his money - even if he is legally weak. But disappointing this employer in his expectations is critical for a successful career even if you were formally "right". I also urgently advise you to coordinate such a project with your employer regardless of the legal situation. I cannot and would not like to contribute anything to further details; the subject then ends up in a field that is outside of our objective.

Short answer:

After only one year of practical experience in your first employment relationship, you cannot assume that you are familiar with “professional life”. Observations made during this time should be interpreted for what they are: random snapshots from a complex long-term process.

Question No .: 1677
Number of the VDI nachrichten edition: 24
Date of the VDI nachrichten edition: 2002-06-14

A contribution from:

  • Heiko Mell

    Heiko Mell is a career advisor, author and freelancer for VDI nachrichten. He is responsible for the career advice series within VDI nachrichten.