Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are You the Ant or the Giant?

If you feel unhappy with any aspect of your career, you have the power, in this moment, to change it. Your job is more than a title and list of responsibilities. Your field is more than a profession and a series of degrees and certifications. To experience more in your career, you've got to take more control of how you work, when you work, who you work for, and what you get paid.

It is not the company's job to promote you. In today's economy, it's barely their responsibility to train you. If you desire success in terms of career growth and expansion, you have to take the bull by the horns and blaze your own career path.

How do you do that?
Work like the ant and network like the giant.

"Within every ant is a giant and within every giant is an ant."

Ants work very hard. They plan, prepare and store what they need for the winter well in advance. They can lift so much more than their own body weight and, together, as a community, they build, save and thrive.

Giants aren't as quick as ants but their mere size gives off an air of power and strength that you won't perceive in an ant at first. Perceived power brings with it a first impression of strength and, as we all know, first impressions are usually lasting impressions.

In your career, you've got to work like the ant (smarter, not harder, lifting more than your weight, planning ahead and using wisdom) but you cannot showcase this totality of effort for your entire office to see. Too many people play the martyr at work and choose to be the "workhorse" and then wonder why, when performance appraisal time comes, they're always passed up for the promotion.

If you will work twice as hard as everybody else for the same pay, what incentive are you giving the company to pay you more?

That's why you maintain your work ethic, bring in the best results but you showcase the strength and power of the giant so when people in the office see you, they don't think "Oh, he'll do the job of three people for the price of one." No, they see you relaxed, enjoying the workday, networking with senior managers and they'll wonder "How does he get so much done when he spends a lot of the time in a peaceful state? He must know somebody..."

To be a big fish in any pond, you must convey an impression of strength and power that can't be conveyed if you look like a chicken running around with his head cut off.

Work hard but don't play the workhorse;
show that you get paid just as much
for your presence as you do for your productivity.

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