I know why my cage bears strings

It’s not that I’m trapped in my role, my job, it’s that I know what it would take to progress, and I don’t like the strings attached.

As far as I can tell, people are either unsure (even incredulous) about why they aren’t progressing in their career, or indeed blame the structure / culture of their organisation, the market or mostly their boss.

If we’re not doing as well as we might expect, or not living up to the expectations we had when we left education (“will go far”) then there’s a real need for ego protection and comforting isn’t there?

The world is a harsh place; I’m doing the best I can considering what I’ve got on my plate, and it’s not like I’ve been lucky is it? Yada yada truism yada.

There’s nothing wrong in protecting, even stroking, one’s ego. We have to have faith in ourselves in order to stretch ourselves, to get on with things and achieve more.

But imagine how I feel, how my ego feels, seeing as I know exactly why I’m not progressing in my career, and probably never will.

I listen to people, I consider end-users and stakeholders, I believe what people say and I plan far into the future – mitigating risks as I go. I focus on the quality of the end result and care about the process too. I’m also clear, honest and direct – often interpreted as hostile by people who like things to be vague, soft and dealt with by others.

These are major ‘challenges’ (I’m not allowed to say ‘problem’) I’m sure you can see.

Basically, I’m not very good at doing ‘just enough’ to satisfy basic needs. I’m no good at ignoring people or re-interpreting their clearly expressed distaste as “that’s fine”. I’m rubbish at spending time and money on things that will cause problems and failures in the future and I’m stupidly unable to cut-corners if I know it will damage the end result.

Basically, I’m unemployable and I’m fortunate that my bosses require my skills and manage my difficult and overly-ambitious desires to make things easier, better, faster, stronger.

I am not being sarcastic nor facetious. I am indeed fortunate to be managed so well, and kept focused on what I do well, and kept away from what I do less-well (people).

And there is a real drive to ‘deliver mediocrity’. We cannot spend so much time and money getting ‘everything’ great; we don’t absolutely need ‘great’. ‘Good’ is good enough.

I know why I won’t get far, I can see why the good practices I’ve learnt annoy people and never catch on.

So, what can I change about myself in order to step up the ladder? What do I need to do – to be, in order to manage people and rise in directors’ opinions? There is not a document, plan, strategy, tactic or communication I cannot write, but this isn’t about my skills and knowledge, it’s about me.

Can I change? Is that a possibility?

Clearly, this is a Friday post; thanks for reading – maybe you feel the same sometimes? Maybe you broke out of your ‘square hole’ and have moved onwards and upwards. Let me know.


Photo credit: physiognomist

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