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

Tofu, invention, moving on, and rebounding

I frequented this small place in Beijing, which served inventive dishes. Their egg white wrapped tofu and walnut prawns both supplied visual texture and firm mouth feel. They served other dishes too; yet, one day the two dish were gone. They explained it “we don’t make those anymore.” I sampled the menu, yet found nothing particularly as inventive. So, I stopped going.

Restaurants can do okay on average food for a while, if they compensate with a terrific staff. Toss in a great wine list and, yes people will come back. They may be between chefs? Maybe the chef’s is amidst a personal crisis. Or maybe its owner is off starting her/his new restaurant? The point, people notice when something is off or does not work right. They will go with the flow, eat there, or continue to pay/work, as long as something else offsets it, convenience, staff, or price.

When something starts to slip, inventive dishes, an attention to detail, or great attitudes, people move on both physically and mentally. Physical movement rebounds are less challenging. Staff can coached to step up. New customers can be wooed with inventive recipes. Positive attitudes when facing challenges go a long way and build confidence. When people mentally move on, their mentality changes. Gone is the inventive spirit. Little gets celebrated. Challenges go unsolved or worse unaddressed. You hear, “we do it this way” all to often. When this mentality becomes part of your culture, rebounding is more challenging. So, why not just channel your energy to create a vibrant and dynamic culture that manages transitions well in order to sustain itself in the first place?

Image by dgray_xplane @ creative commons

Trip versus Journey

A trip is usually somewhere you have been before. A trip to the market! A trip to the post office. There’s usually a specific purpose or a goal. To buy groceries. To buy stamps. With a journey, there is more of an unknown element involved, a challenge if you will. A little mystery. A little risk. All trips can be journeys, if you let them. And all journeys can turn into trips, if you remove the challenge. Many want their journeys to be trips. They like the element of control. They like constancy. They appreciate change, just on their terms. Yet too much control hinders or obscures the learning. And if you end up taking the learning out of the journey, then it is just a trip. So, what’s it today, a trip or on a journey?

Image by -Snugg- @ Creative Commons