Some days I wake up, beautiful sunny day. I’m ready for the world. I’ve got an early start and I’m armed with all that I know from the many jobs I’ve had and the experiences I have lived. I grab the three essentials, phone, wallet and keys. I close the door to my apartment, walk down the stairs, walk out of the front door and I forgot one thing. Quick mental check of the essentials…I forgot to ask whether the world was ready for me? I pause, I say to myself “Is the world ready for me?”
Have you ever asked the world this question? Is it even prepared for what I’m about to bring to it? Has anything I have learned or experienced assisted in devising a delivery system for the world to receive? I can think back on many situations where I would say, “I am too much for this room.” I’ve sat in staff meetings and board meetings, quietly observing the process. After a while, it becomes clear that I have not chimed in on anything. I am asked to speak and what I have to say is so simple yet, so far over the head of all that are present.
I do not say this to present any sort of conceit, usually, the room is filled with people who skills I admire. But, I often have a hard time understanding why the simplest approach is not the first option when planning. I can remember a staff meeting for a theatre company I use to work for where the topic of discussion was how to raise awareness for organization. At the time, I ran the box office. I reported to the director of marketing. I rode the bus to work. I noticed that while the bus stopped directly in front of this iconic theater, the announcement was for the street and no significant landmark.
So, I ask, “Is there a way to get the transit authority to announce the theater when it stops at the corner?” There was no answer. It was like this was the first time this suggestion had ever been presented. Did I mention that the organization had a member of the transit authority on their board of directors? Why did this leave the table dumbfounded? It seemed like a simple yet, obvious way to raise awareness. This was not the first idea I presented in my lowly position at the entrance of the building.
Later, I would come in with a 10 – point marketing plan to raise awareness using the resources of the organization that were already in play. Suggestions like creating a dance troupe out of the students learning dance that would participate in parades around the city. Another suggestion was to take the students learning to sing and create a choir that would perform on the stage as a fundraiser. After I presented all 10 points, the only question that came up was, “Where did you go to school?”
Needless to say, none of these ideas were researched or even implemented. Shortly after this meeting, the organization laid off most of the staff and I was out of a job. I am often told to slow down. For some reason, there is no real urgency in the organizations I tend to work for. In this case, I was ready for the world but, the world was not ready for me. Many people my age tend to feel this way about organizations that are so set in their way.
When new people enter an organization, they tend to shake things up. If the leader of the pack is not interested in trying new things, their talent is wasted. The only organizations I have worked for that met my pace were organizations that had no structure and hired me to create one. Even though I felt under-qualified, my ideas were fresh and on the ground floor. That is why I became a consultant.
Now, I walk into every organization with the mindset of seeking out what is wrong and I immediately get to work on solutions of change. This presents a challenge as you may have guessed. No one wants to be told what to do, let alone from someone who is fresh off the line. This goes the same for many who have just graduated from great institutions where the most dynamic instructors have empowered them with high standards to be unleashed on a world that is not ready. It seems like, once you step out into the real world, you must lower your standards in order to fit in unless you plan to run your own company.
If this is the case, why are the standards listed in job postings so high to begin with? Why are we asking for a level we are not ready to reach? We are wasting talent, keeping brilliant people down in roles that do not challenge them and ultimately frustrate until they either conform or leave with a sour taste in their mouths. Why can’t we just keep it simple? If you just want a placeholder, simply say that so the dreamers can go off and seek out a challenge! Who writes these job postings anyway, don’t answer that.
The goal is to find the balance. Sure, we want to learn as much as we can but, unfortunately, the world is an hypocrisy. It claims to move at a fast pace, as so many job postings claim but, it is set in a way and too many things have to happen in order to effect change. The millennial generation wants to “move your cheese”. They are ready to help you find new sources of cheese. While I am technically not a millennial, I embody the spirit.
One day, the world will catch up and be as fearless as the artist who has a message to deliver. Infuse us into you work force and let’s speed up this process right now! I’m ready, are you?