This is an amazing and self-refuting cry for help by Kate MacKay (via Maggies Farm)
By and large, my friends and my friends’ friends are all intelligent, educated, gregarious, and creative. They’re insightful and thoughtful. They’re critical and ambitious. So why do so many employers put them in positions that don’t take full advantage of what they’ve got to offer?...
But this is really bad talent management on the part of our employers. If you have ambitious, smart young people who actually want to do more work and use their talents to the maximum – so that they can grow as people and employees – then you’re an idiot as an employer to not take advantage of this....
The places that we work for are chock-a-block with people who are contented in their positions; they’re sitting low in their saddles, riding out the last miles toward the sunset of retirement. They’re not interested in changing horses any more, the way we are, and so those saddles that we want to have remain full, often by people who have lost more than just their ambitions for new jobs. They’ve lost the drive to get things done quickly, they’ve lost creativity, and they’ve especially lost the outsider’s perspective on the job they do and the company they work for. They’re entrenched in the corporate culture of the place, and nothing kills innovation or ambition faster than people dedicated to the status quo....
This is where I am, and many of my friends are in this position too, just hoping and waiting for either the next better job outside, or some radical shift inside. I’ve thought seriously about changing my LinkedIn profile blurb to something like, “My career goal is to gain a position that energizes, excites, challenges, and values me, so that I can continue to develop my skills and talents, and grow as a person.” I wonder if that would catch anyone’s eye?...
OK, stay with me, I am saving the good part for last, but it is important to get this background. This person is seriously confused. Companies do not exist to give one jobs that match one's skills. In fact, they do not exist to provide jobs at all. They exist to serve customers and thereby generate surpluses for the owners. They hire people to do specific jobs that are part of a process to serve these customers and owners.
I am sympathetic to the notion that there is lost value in my employees, that they can do things that might be useful to me that I do not tap. But I have 500 employees. I have time to customize like maybe two of those jobs to the talents of individuals, and these are high level jobs where the benefit of that time commitment on my part is worth it. For the rest of the employees, I have to be satisfied I am missing some value, because at best I don't have the time or resources to customize jobs to every employee's unique snowflakeness. And at worst, such customization would mess up our customer service process. At some level, I don't want every front line employee inventing his or her own imagined customer contact or cash management process.
But I promised you the best is yet to come. and here it is:
All of them wonder when their break is going to come, when the thing they’re doing will finally spill over from ‘just making it work’ to ‘making it.’ And I wonder that too, because this risk-taking group of determined individuals should be rewarded by the universe, I think, for their innovation and dedication. The other group, sitting undervalued at their desks, should be likewise rewarded for their abilities and ambitions.
My overall sense is that we’re all in the same place, sitting together in a kind of employment purgatory, waiting for something to happen. We keep working – we’re not sitting idle. We apply for jobs, we network, push for promotions or projects, advertise ourselves, and keep our eyes on the horizon. We are striving, ever striving, for the thing that we want that we know we can do. Economists be damned, we’re all just waiting for our big break, and we won’t be satisfied with a comfy saddle riding toward the sunset.
Did you get that? This risk-taking and proactive group is determined to sit on their ass and wait for someone in the universe to appreciate them, for some organization to create a perfect job that gives each employee snowflake his or her perfect work experience.
Jeez, I have had a series of sucky jobs over time. So as advice to those that think a proactive job search encompasses seriously considering a new Linked-in profile blurb, I did two things:
- I changed jobs, and eventually went to work for myself.
- I stopped defining my total-life fulfillment by what I do for a paycheck, and took on other tasks outside of work (blogging, writing, building) that brought me satisfaction but for which people have been as-yet unwilling to pay me.