It’s been a while since I posted any career-related items, and this one has been sitting with me for a while. As I work with my clients, and push them to explore their potential in work and in life, there is one thing that stands out as both a ‘no brainer’, and huge red flag for me. I don’t bump into this often, but I still feel that it’s worth addressing.
You see, there are some people who frankly do not believe that they actually have to work.
For real! I’m not kidding.
For all of the career advice, coaching and encouragement I can provide, nothing can take the place of a front and center commitment, and understanding that you still have to DO THE WORK!
Yes. I know you are special.
Yes, I agree that you are a unique, and truly gifted person that is deserving of love, respect and success!
However, no amount of beauty, poise, wit or charm will nullify the impression laziness creates. (And yes, not working, not producing to the level of your innate capabilities is being lazy.)
I’ve known people that seemed to take pride in the fact that they were just so important, that they couldn’t be bothered with actually ‘doing the work’. Clearly that is for mere underlings, right?
Wrong. In fact, if you bring a prima donna attitude into the work environment, you will quickly find colleagues shunning you, invitations drying up, and big projects and kudos going to other people.
Let me break it to you kindly. No one is irreplaceable.
Literally, NO ONE.
Even the most amazing employee I’ve ever engaged with has ultimately moved on, and yes, someone else was able to come along and pick up the pieces and keep the work moving forward.
And the most certain way to a pink-slip is to simply avoid doing your work.
If you demonstrate either prideful self-importance, laziness, or other work avoidance traits, others will definitely notice, and it will not end well.
I worked on a project once with a colleague who had scored an amazing position at a very prestigious PR firm in downtown Seattle. She had the skills, certainly, as well as the ‘pedigree’. However, as we continued our work on this shared project, it became clear to me that she was just ‘calling it in’. She skipped meetings. Sent proxies in her place, didn’t respond to emails, and essentially disappeared from the project as a whole.
When I happened to bump into her at a social event at her firm, she bragged about all of the events she was attending, and her weekend visits to some of her other clients’ yachts and homes. She didn’t mention a thing about any actual work. If I was jealous of the amazing experiences and perks she was enjoying, that ended very abruptly when the project we were working on came to a head, and she was nowhere to be found. Her boss was called in to account for their firm’s progress on the project, and my yacht-and party-hopping friend was very quickly out of a job.
Predictably, she was totally shocked. Couldn’t believe they would actually fire her when she had been so busy ‘representing’ the company at all these very important engagements. My friend had made the mistake of confusing being socially active (and to her mind ‘busy’), with producing real results for her firm.
However, no one else was surprised (other than the fact that she lasted as long as she did). She was not producing, and that is the one unforgivable sin in any work environment. You’ve got to produce. You’ve got to be earning your keep.
It’s a non-negotiable.
Yes, we might be well into the 21st century, but some things will never change, and people respect a hard worker. Period.
Wouldn’t you rather be known as a ‘go to’ person? A ‘get shit done’, ‘actions speak louder than words’ team player, than a diva who vanishes into thin air when the actual work transpires?
If you want respect. If you want your ambition to be rewarded, and you want to move upward and onward, then there is no escaping the fact that you are going to have to put in the blood, sweat and tears and actually DO THE WORK!
Don’t delude yourself into thinking otherwise.
Whether you came by your opportunities through raw ambition, via your family’s silver spoon, or by pure luck; at some point you are going to have to deliver in your career in order to keep your forward momentum going.
Do yourself a solid by taking the necessary actions to demonstrate your competence, your gifts, your potential, (and most likely the fundamental thing you are being paid to do), and just do the work!
Everything else can be tweaked, nuanced, improved and enhanced. But a misguided or poor work-ethic is a huge barrier to living the life you likely want.