Our Compliance is Not Their Fault

Aaron McHugh


Most people sign an unwritten contract every day.

We trade a paycheck for predictability.

Does your arrangement go something like this?

Boss, you give me a predictable every-two-week paycheck, health insurance, projects to work on, lunch breaks, and a Christmas party, and I’ll give you my will, my dignity, my freedom of choice, my security, my sleep, and my future plans for my life.

Like the indentured servant, most employees take on the goals of the crown—the company and the customers—as their priority instead of their own goals. Creating great products and building great companies are wonderful ways to invest in a career, but at what expense?

Too often the objectives of the kingdom—the company—become the only mission. What you want, what you need, or what you value is rarely included in the company’s quarterly objectives.

How frequently have you been asked in your quarterly or annual review,

How is the company treating you?

What can the company do for you?

How can the company help make you a more content, enthusiastic, invigorated, challenged contributor?

The problem is that you have made a trade, an agreement:

You work for them and they believe that their mission—regardless of your feelings about it—should be fulfilling to you.

You will never offer your best if you are constantly editing yourself to keep in step with the contract you signed.

We can end up yielding so much of our true selves that we subject ourselves to emotional tyranny.

Isn’t it true that fear is the driving force behind our compliance?

If we hold conflicting views with our company or leadership, if we desire more than what is offered in the trade, we fear the consequences of standing up for what we desire and believe.

I owe this realization to a coworker.

We were taking a walk in the parking lot together outside of our office when he told me,

“I get it. I sign a contract and accept the terms of the agreement every time I cash a paycheck.”

He was right.

I had a business dealing that accurately depicted this type of contract. It was a contractual agreement between three parties that totaled seven figures over five years.

One of the parties never signed the contract, but they cashed the checks each year for their portion of the compensation.

After a few years the attorneys concluded that even though this party never signed the contract, they were acting according to the contract terms and receiving compensation for doing so.

Therefore, cashing the check was as good as signing the piece of paper.

MY compliance WAs not their fault.


Cashing the check is as good as signing the contract.

By cashing my check every two weeks, I was agreeing with the terms of my employment even though I wasn’t externally condoning or agreeing with those terms. I had to take ownership of my participation in the dysfunctional system.

I could no longer blame or point fingers.

I had to become a part of the solution or stop cashing the checks.

*Expert from eBook: Don’t Quit Your Job. Fire Your Boss.

For your complete free copy download here.

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