I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my career these past months. Most of this reflection is on the many different people I’ve dealt with over my professional life. And how I’ve learned something from every person I’ve worked with.
Some of the lessons I learned were positive experiences, and I count those people as mentors and role models. Other lessons- not so much. One constantly recurring lesson I remember is how so many people I’ve worked with put effort into making other people look bad.
Another Quora question got me reminiscing about my introduction to free enterprise after retiring from Navy life. It was the first, and only time, one of my boss’s appeared at my front door. It was an unexpected visit after I had abruptly resigned for reasons relating to his fraudulent business practices.
As I’m beginning to wind down my career into retirement, I’m forced into reminiscing about career experiences both good and bad. One recurring theme of bad experiences relates to the many times I’ve been set-up for failures. I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would deliberately put effort into making the people around themselves fail.
I’ve experienced too many people in my professional life who seemingly worked extra hard to get me to fail. Most of the time I succeeded despite the best efforts of other people. But, there was one time I didn’t. As I reminisce about my career I keep coming back to the one time when despite my best efforts, I was successfully set-up to fail.
During difficult economic times the “Success Gurus” seem to crawl out of the woodwork. These gurus are happy to share the secret of how they made millions of dollars with little-to-no-effort/overnight/the easy way. For just a few dollars they will happily share some of their secrets. For a few dollars more they’ll share all of their secrets.
The secret they don’t share is the secret of showing up.
There’s been any number of articles lately about essential workers. This pandemic, with the related nearly-global lock-down of “non-essential personnel” should cause us to rethink our assumptions on labor.