Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Pat on the Back, or a Kick in the Behind?

It feels good to be recognized for the work you do.


If you need to have your hand held every step of the way in order to accomplish something you should be doing, then you maybe in trouble.

The age of doing what you are told and only doing what you are told is disappearing.

The age of doing your job and then some is here.

I started working in the radio business as a disc jockey when I was in high school. Got my first, real full-time paying on-air gig when I was 18 and moved out of the house. My bosses only cared that I did my job but there was no room for advancement, so I took charge of my own advancement and left after a year for another d-j job in a bigger town and a better time slot.

Even during the times I did not work in the radio profession, I was self motivated to learn and advance.

I took an entry level position in a factory in my 30's and jumped at opportunities for advancement. That's why I know how to drive a forklift.

A few years later I took an entry level position at a plastics factory and a week later was training to become a thermoformer operator. Within a year I was training the guy who originally taught me the basics.

I'm now in my 8th year at a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne. Except for a 4 of the disc jockeys on one of our stations who were there when I joined them, everything has changed. That includes the number of stations, (5, then 6, then 3, and now 4); the name of the company, the upper management, (5 or 6 times); and all of the other staff members.

I have stuck around despite having offers to leave because the opportunities to grow continue and since I am in an advertising sales position, I can pretty much call my own shots. I am also here because I contribute to the economic health of our company.

I've lost track, but I bet there have been close to 100 salespeople come and go since I've been here. And only 1 or 2 are currently successful in this business.

So, was it a pat on the back, or a kick in the behind from my bosses that made me successful?

I've received both, but neither was really responsible for my success.

It has to come from within. Economic pressures might motivate some people, but $$$ only motivates us to take some kind of action, which could be good or bad.

Finally, I have to also give credit to my wife Kathy of nearly 10 years. While I could get totally absorbed by the work I do, she provides support and balance. She doesn't need me, but we complement each other. We have our differences, we have our sense of humor, we have our faith and that helps us stay humble, motivated and centered.

As I started writing this piece this morning, it was originally motivated by what Seth Godin wrote on his blog this weekend:

Validation is overrated

If you're waiting for a boss or an editor or a college to tell you that you do good work, you're handing over too much power to someone who doesn't care nearly as much as you do.

We spend a lot of time organizing and then waiting for the system to pick us, approve of us and give us permission to do our work.

Feedback is important, selling is important, getting the market to recognize your offering and make a sale--all important. But there's a difference between achieving your goals and realizing your work matters.

If you have a book to write, write it. If you want to record an album, record it. No need to wait for someone in a cubicle halfway across the country to decide if you're worthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment