Friday, October 05, 2007
Stupid Career Mistakes
This has been one of the weeks in my career that I will always remember. Regardless of the thoughts of perception management weenies, I know I did something that made me perceive myself differently. In reflecting on some of the things that I did right in my career, not managing perception is one of them.
Everyone has their own line in the sand that they will never cross. Way too many people nowadays are conformists and will do anything to make folks happy. Some will throw away their integrity, their principles and values all for the savage pursuit of material things such as the corner office, the annual bonus or whatever yardstick they use to measure success. Few folks in this world will stand to reason and will defend their morale compass regardless of outcome.
The best leaders recognize how to use their people in areas they will dominate while not forcing HR babble regarding opportunities for improvement on things they could give a rat's bleep about. It has always been my mantra that it is a big fat waste of time for me to expend effort fixing things about myself in which I will always be mediocre and that the best return on my own investment is to put myself into situations where what I am currently good at, I can get better at.
Perception management is evil at its core and I hope if I accomplish one and only one thing this year, it would be for others to appreciate this opinion. Consider the fact that the vast majority of American's are overweight. They know about dieting, and so ignorance isn't an excuse. They know where the gym is at yet don't show up. Some will say that it is psychological which is rubbish. I say that the reason folks who are overweight don't do anything about it, that it simply doesn't have a return on investment for them and that their own sense of well-being is more important than how they are viewed externally. While I acknowledge the health benefits of losing weight, I equally respect the fact that there focus is in the right place.
Even acknowledging this, I still think there were two mistakes I have made. First, I had the opportunity to work for a world-class leader several years ago but didn't give myself enough credit to realize that sometimes future leaders need to be potential followers as well. The opportunity to be a direct report to the Global CIO of an international enterprise was simply a dumb thing on my part. I made excuses regarding having to do a long commute (I really hate driving) when I should have sucked it up and seized the moment.
The second dumb thing that I did was turn down a job offer working for one of the big Four consulting firms. I would have been at the senior manager level where I would have been solely focused on a top gun type assignments. For those who aren't familiar, the notion of the top gun is who you call in to clean up messes after bleep has hit the fan. The funny thing was I didn't realize at the time that being the best damned technologist could have positioned me to also be the best damned IT executive where my talents would have been best leveraged and I could have skipped the perception management stuff while doing enterprise architecture level work.
Next weekend, I will be spending time with my sons and reflecting on other thoughts that I have had about life. In the meantime, I think I need to pray, fast and be more charitable. How about you?
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