Richard Branson once said that if you put your employees first, they will take care of your customers. I’ve worked for many organizations that put customers first and I have to say, I think Branson has it right.

Client-first organizations can often lead to disrespecting co-workers.  (“Oh I’m sorry a client emergency came up.) High status / low-status dichotomy, with those with access to clients on top. To me, lack of dignity creates value dissonance and is a sign of a broken culture.

For 18 months, I worked on a digital app that used predictive analytics to identify “High Performers” at risk of quitting. After reviewing longitudinal data for thousands of employees – we found that certain high performers were 5X more likely to quit after getting a pay raise or promotion. This was counterintuitive because one would normally think a raise would engender happiness and loyalty.

A couple of theories were tossed out including “market validation” and “poaching.” However, after some digging and interviews, we found that such defections were an indication of deeper dissatisfaction. When you have a cultural fit, where people feel challenged and respected – people are happy and loyal – they are less extrinsically motivated, less expensive and less at risk to leave.

That experience reminded me of this facebook post – about a truly broken sytem.

It’s hard not to be struck by the visible emotion and the heartbreak displayed by these teachers struggling to take care of themselves and their families – over their calling. In the corporate world,  discussions abound about organization’s higher purpose. In my opinion, this situation demonstrates an abuse of leadership. Smart, heartless, politicians use these teachers’ conflict between their values (serving kids + their financial security) to keep them “trapped” in a thankless and undervalued job. It is interesting that everyone in this video expresses some kind of guilt for quitting. Even though, they intellectually understand it is because of their government’s decision not to play them what they’re worth.

Sidenote: “Guilt” blocks the third chakra – i.e. the source of self-esteem, ego, and pride.

I’m struck by how hard many of them seem to have tried to do the work that is aligned with their values — and I am disappointed in a legislature and a society that takes advantage of that motivation. Finally, what I like about this video is the end where the teachers catalog their different jobs – because I think it demonstrates their market value and the opportunity costs of their labor. Sadly, I think a lot of politicians are pretty heartless and don’t value kindness, empathy, and human decency. Which should concern anyone interested in how are future generations are being taught.