So what is Hoop Jumping? Glad you asked. You can kind of figure it out for yourself but I define it as an unnecessary display of power and control (usually by someone higher up the food chain – but not always) where you are expected to do something that is not critical to anyone but them. You’re supposed to do it because 1) they said so 2) everyone who’s had your job has always done it or 3) because they said so. Oh, did I say that already? That’s because it’s the equivalent of a parent saying, “Because I said so!” or “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I know how to take direction but I also know when someone is trying to make me do something just to see if I’ll do it to determine if I’m a “team player” or will go along with whatever they say. They want to see if you’ll be obedient. My answer to that is: there’s only one Person I obey and you are not Him.

I assure you I am very team-oriented. I work well on my own too. Neither of those statements are resume bs. But here’s the thing: I am used to being a part of teams that WIN. Whatever we have been tasked with gets done – and done well – because we all take ownership of our individual tasks and contribute to the global success of the project or goal. We don’t sabotage each other, we’re accountable when things don’t go as planned and we don’t waste time doing things that don’t contribute to our collective success. Hoop Jumping is the antithesis of Productivity.

Hoop Jumping is also not only about lost productivity, it’s a power play by someone immature and insecure who tells you need to do something because they need to be the boss of something. If you ask why, you’re labeled difficult or told you have issues with authority. The latter may be true but I ask questions because I want to understand the benefit of doing something when I do it. If you can’t give me a valid reason for doing something other than because you said so, that’s Hoop Jumping. Chances are you have to do whatever it is if you want to keep your job (and they know it) but I encourage you to still ask why. For someone like me who has NO poker face, I may agree, but you’ll easily read disgust in my face, especially if I think you’re wasting my time. Treat people with respect, have some common sense and people will do what you ask.

Jumping for The Man

I think this is also about race and gender. When you are a woman/person of color in management or any kind of leadership position, you’re expected to be twice as smart as everyone else but treated like you have no actual intelligence. You will be expected to do all sorts of things – to obey. In some cases, it’s easier to go ahead and jump through that hoop and go on about your business. The problem with this is when you do this repeatedly, the offender thinks you’ll do pretty much anything. The hoops get more narrow. Then they’re set on fire or have razor blades on the inside. You do it for as long as you can until one day, you realize your time is running short. I probably mentioned it in another post but I felt like I was spiritually aware that I would be leaving my last corporate role. First it was a dream two years prior about the month and then a 30 day marker. I kid you not.

I stopped jumping those hoops – at least for The Man. Be aware that even if your handling you’re own gigs, you get the occasional unreasonable client and they expect the world, usually for $5. That’s okay with me because honestly, once I complete the project, it’s very likely I won’t work with them ever again. You can’t pay me enough. I read a devotional just this morning about how not every “too good to be true” opportunity is for you. If you are working to serve the Lord and help people, you don’t need to accept anything that looks good but comes with Hoop Jumping.