I have a friend who keeps telling me he has the best job in the world. There’s no pressure, the coffee and all refreshments are free, he has a ten minute commute and he can come and go as he pleases. Oh and a minor detail: he makes big bucks. Bigger than he’s ever made in his whole career. What’s not to like? He’s found a home. This is it for him, he says, the dream job. A nice soft, happy landing.
To my friend I would say, start packing. Do not ditch that resume. Ever. Not even for a minute. If you’ve landed someplace where you’re not frying Chicken McNuggets, start paying close attention. Your mission is now critical.
Start packing your cranium with every thing you can about that business. Learn to make yourself a more valuable commodity as technology gobbles up your business, your value and your ability to survive. Think of it as TDY as they say in the military, temporary duty, because that’s all it is, really, notwithstanding the rolling thunder bullshit company line barreling out of HR and across the lips of your upper management. Start packing every experience, job title and committee your bona fides will allow and then some. School is back in session. Forever. Fuck Alice Cooper.
Cram! Cram the big picture of that company to understand how it all works. Don’t get comfy. Find all the moving parts. On day one, get interested, get moving and get motivated. Ask questions and volunteer your ass off. As soon as you zig, they will zag. You might have been able to amass 30 years in days gone by but this ain’t your father’s corporation. Sure, it cost them a lot of dough to onboard you but outboarding is always in the budget.
Scram! You can do it two ways, mentally or physically. Or both. As soon as you arrive, prepare for your departure. You think the military sits around all day waiting for a war to start? Anticipate any and all threats to your professional survival. Don’t fall asleep in your foxhole. Ever hear someone describe the day they got canned? Hemingway couldn’t compete with that. Total shocking devastation and a cardboard box. Buh bye!
In my role after I resigned, I put on a clean white shirt and rang the front door bell as an in-house video producer. I got to see how the sausage gets made. When a large company gets ready to make an impactful presentation or announcement, they squeeze that thing through a pastry bag. They anticipate, play devil’s advocate and try O.J. all over again. They get real granular. They have to, lives are on the line. Theirs. Ever wonder why whole floors are devoted to legal departments?
In those executive video production sessions, I got more than words, I got more intentions, scenarios, possible blow back and “what ifs” than a defense attorney. They’re not evil, just careful. Although, I have met a few diabolical HR and PR assassins, (you know who you are.) You can usually spot them with a clipboard and a cup of tea peering over the top of their glasses at you if you happen to find yourself in disagreement with them.
But, back to you. Every job is an opportunity. Seize it. Every position is a class. Learn it. Your development should be your top priority. Always. If you get into a position that is so specialized that it’s only specific to that organization, I can tell you first hand, the carnage and havoc that will wreak on your cortisol levels. But there is always a salvageable skill buried in there somewhere. Find it.
The most devastated are the ones who never ran their own fire drills and then developed a touch of the vapors when their tough shit ticket got punched. Don’t let that be you.
Remember, they don’t love you, they don’t cherish you and they don’t want you to make a lot of money, especially from them. They are only doing business with you. If you’re like most “employees,” you know more about football PSI than what’s going on across the hall.
As my mother used to say, ” a word to the wise is sufficient.” So, cram, scram and say thank you ma’am!
If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.
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