Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's Dog Eat Dog, Baby!

"Resist, unlearn, defy."

Incubus, "Out From Under"

Sometimes, external forces mold your personality so subtly that you don't even notice the change you've gone through until it's passed.

I started out as a pretty high-flyer in my organization. Went from the bottom rung to a manager's position in record time. Tried innovative ideas that are now company policy. Changed the way we do business with our clients. But, for the past few months, I find that I've been given some redundant tasks, and I've missed out on the plum committee appointments. It's as if my organization has said "thank you for your hard work, but the spotlight is off you now, so just go on about your business".

Not that I ever stopped pressing for these things, as I know that my skills lie more in strategic management and organizational culture than line management, and I know that those skills are in demand. But every time I've requested an opportunity, I've been told "you can't do that, you'll burn yourself out". Or "you've come so far, so fast, I think you need a break now". I will be the one who determines what I can and can't do. Besides, I know myself, and I know that without the energy and learning opportunities that these extra projects provide, I'd likely burn out anyway.

So, a job posting shows up on my desk yesterday. It's a great position, great pay, and no more work than what I'm doing now, either about the same or less. There's also a lot more strategy involved, which is what I want. The only downside is that it's in a sector of the organization that I don't know very well. Let's put it this way, if I worked in the construction industry, I would be in the sector that builds frames, and the other sector would be the one that does the roofing. But, it's nothing that I can't learn.

However, the first thing I think is that "well, I'm sure someone else deserves it more than me, I've come so far so fast that it would be better if I stayed where I was - I'm sure I wouldn't get the job anyway." What the fuck kind of thinking is that? FROM ME? I've never, ever viewed potential jobs like that, then I realized that the months of years of downward pressure and pigeonholing got me second-guessing myself.

As soon as I realized this, I was able to snap out of it. It's a great job, and I deserve it just as much as anyone else does. I'm not expecting it to be handed to me on a silver platter, but I'm going to be ready to compete for it, and there aren't many people who are better in a competitive situation than me, because I don't crack under pressure. I'm applying for this job, and Lord help anyone who is stuck in that exam room with me. It's back to dog eat dog. And I'm the biggest, strongest, fastest, youngest and smartest dog in the neighbourhood. And it's about time that I remembered that.


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