Moving Beyond Your “Berry-Picking” Job

July is raspberry time in my backyard and the choice pickings go on and on for weeks! The quiet of this past early Sunday morning was picture perfect for plucking an ample bowl for breakfast and folding in a working meditation along the way. When my mind strayed, it went to thoughts of the mantra, “Grow organically and support local markets”. I thought, “Hmm. You can’t get any more organic than growing produce in your own backyard, nor can you get a more local market than your own threshold; hey…this applies to the workplace, too!”

Too often employees just know they’re the perfect “organic”, “local market” candidate for certain jobs within their own companies but find they can’t catch the listening of those in the selection process. And that’s too bad for everyone concerned. That’s what you call a lose-lose-lose. The employee loses the opportunity to professionally develop, the company loses the opportunity to select someone who already knows the ropes and the corporate culture, and the client potentially loses, too, as everyone knows that new “outsider” staff, right off the street, have at least 3 to 6 months of learning curve before they are fully-functioning, productive members of their teams.

It’s frustrating to feel ignored–or worse, dismissed–when putting forth your fine candidacy for a new position. You know what they say, “It’s hard to be a prophet in our own house”! So, you can passively point outwards and blame your employer for not seeing your talent and gifts, or you can actively point inwards/at yourself and work on strategies for making yourself more visible.

Ask yourself:

  1. How hard am I constructively working on being acknowledged/recognized?
  2. For what projects or special company events (internal or external/community focused, company sponsored) have I volunteered?
  3. Have I kept a written record of my participation?
  4. What are my specific successes on-the-job? Can I list at least three immediately? If not, why not? What can I do to turn that around?
  5. Have I had a heart-to-heart with the person to whom I report regarding my desire to be acknowledged and get promoted? If not, why not? If such a conversation has not occurred because of personality differences or a cool relationship, what are one or two things I can do to warm the relationship up?
  6. Have I specifically asked for what I want–shared my vision for my future within this organization–and then requested internal coaching (eg. from my most direct boss) to help me get there?
  7. Have I kept my patience and persevered when things haven’t gone my way?

My dear mum used to say, “All comes to those who wait”. Having at least some patience getting to where you want to go is imperative, however, where is it written that you have to wait for your “ship to come in” so passively? If your “ship” isn’t coming in fast enough for you, actively swim out to it!

In the meantime, if you’re feeling–especially during these dog days of summer–that your day-in and day-out “berry-picking” job is mundane, underappreciated, boring, bland (you get my drift!), remember…all jobs have importance…a certain glory. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t exist! Both the most high-up/highly profiled executive positions, as well as the most humble of frontline occupations, are essential to the success of any organization.

* See pages 33 to 45 of my book, Getting Passion Out of Your Profession: How to keep loving your living, come what may, for more on the subject of acknowledging and declaring your Professional Self-Worth.

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