job or opportunity

“Where does it say that on the job description?”  “Why don’t other people have to do this?”  “I didn’t sign up for this…” You can treat your job two ways.

One, it’s a list of tasks to get through each day. You perform a couple of A’s and a few B’s. Someone calls you with an urgent F and G, so you do them. People are grateful and you are content. The day goes by and you adeptly notch off several other tasks all corresponding to different letters of the alphabet. You accomplish much, yet you do not concern yourself with why F & G come up so often and always together? Why X only appears at the end of the month? You take them all in stride knowing that there will always be more, similar, and repeating tasks to tackle.

Two, it’s a list of tasks to question. You notice patterns, question procedures, and generally see tasks as opportunities. Curiosity demands you investigate F, G, and X. You research, collaborate, problem solve, and solutions appear. Familiar tasks disappear while new ones emerge. Your skills stay sharp, your learning is fluid, and your job is dynamic.

The future is not about what is required, but what is possible. Thinking about possibilities stimulates creativity. We ask, we push, we analyse, and we act. Curiosity should be encouraged at all levels. Be proactive, question authority, and never settle for your routine. Yes, we will always need people to get things done, yet we need more people who can push their brains beyond what’s required.

Will you still have a job if you solve all the tasks? Yes, it just might be some place else. There will always be new tasks, problems, and opportunities to tackle. While both scary and exciting, the future needs proactive problem solvers. It needs hungry people who can work in teams. And, it especially needs risk takes who are not afraid to fail. Those who are happy with the status quo, need not apply.

Image by dgray_xplane @ CC
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hiring people, two ways

You can write a detailed job description and then wait for the right person to apply. This is our list of skills we need. You will do X and Y, posses Z years experience, and here’s a smidgen about us. It’s very one sided. Plus, you’ve said a lot about your company, its bureaucracy, and its ability to take risks. No doubt, someone out there with those exact skills is waiting to jump through your hoops. It’s a time-honored method of hiring that’s worked for decades, more or less.

Or you can treat a job description more like a set of guidelines, not spend to much time perfecting them, emphasis it’s a partnership, and sell some of the future. Why would anyone want to come work with you? You are looking for potential, not just someone with X, Y, and Z. This person will help shape the company’s future, and yours too, if you let it. S/he should be more than the sum of the skills on a job description.

You are looking for a person who wants to learn, not someone who simply can learn. Ask, how did they get these skills and knowledge? Acquisition is important resource. Talk about how they transfer of skills; assemble knowledge, and their research methods. If someone can do X, then it’s probably they can do Y with the right coaching. No, maybe you don’t want to coach them right now, but you don’t want to hire someone just because they can do Y and nobody else can?

You want talented people, those with multiple talents, doubly so. You want those who can step up when needed and preferably lead. At least, look for leadership potential. You want people who know people. How to talk, how to listen, and more importantly how to schmooze! And be ready that someone might be better than you at his or her particular talent.

Remember, it’s a partnership. If you want talented people, your company needs to be heading somewhere. Have your “why follow me” pitch ready. Yes, their five-year plan is important, but so is yours. Most likely, they are already in a position, so why would they jump ship? The people you want are not sitting surfing the web employed reading your job description. If they are, tread carefully. If people emphasis money over opportunity, say no. You are hiring people for who they will become, not for that set of skills you encapsulated for the good of the bureaucracy on a document.

 

Image by juhansonin @ Creative Commons