Substance over Show

Let us tell you a story of one man's growth and maturity from new grad to dream job.

He once had a job that really was not a good fit for him or the employer.  He worked hard and diligently, but at the end of the day both sides regretted the employment.  Well as it is with most jobs he had two options.  He could quit now and hope to get another job as soon a possible, but run the risk of being unemployed for a period of time.  The other option, and the one most people choose, was to look for another job and not quit the first one until he found another.  He chose the second option and thankfully in a short period of time he was able to find another role much better suited to his skills.

This post is not about finding a new job.  It is about why the first position was such a bad fit.  In any job interview, the experts remind you that while the employer is checking you out, you should be doing the same.  Just because a job is offered doesn't mean it is the right job.  Let's review how our example went about this job hunt.

He finished his education and training for his field of choice.  He studied hard and produced decent grades.  Nothing spectacular, but also no failings.  There was nothing in his schooling that would be considered spectacular either from a grades or activities standpoint.  In a word, unremarkable.  This is key, since he would never have his choice of multiple offers.  He would have to fight and struggle to get a good job, and he would probably have to take some lesser positions to work his way up to his dream job.

Along the way he found that even though he didn't realize it early on, he had the power of persuasion. Even though he knew very little about most topics, he could convince his co-workers that he was an expert.  He did this through gleaning just enough information to have a surface discussion.  Pushed to elaborate, he could not.  He would use his skill in debate to turn around anyone's concern so that instead of looking closer at his lack of understanding and instead focus on another topic or person.  As he grew into his personality, he realized that he was a very persuasive speaker.  There were other people around him to do the work and flesh out his thoughts.  He didn't really need to understand the consequences of what he said because if it came time to blame someone, he was responsible since he didn't actually carry out anything.

Time went on, and our job seeker quickly realized that while he could get a job in the private sector, his gift of gab was much better suited to politics.  He felt that he was a leader of men and persuaded those with money and power to elevate him far above his station.  This type of story has been portrayed throughout history, so no one questioned it's happening one more time.  History loves an underdog right up until that underdog becomes the favorite.  It is much easier to sneak-up on the competition, but it is much harder to stay on top and eventually all come crashing down.

Well as these stories often go, our job seeker finally reached the pinnacle of his political career.  Also, as expected in this situation when our job hunter finally gets to the top he realizes that he really doesn't know what he is doing.  It is one thing to convince the masses that you know what you are doing, but it is something else altogether to actually do it.  Words have power, but action has more power.  In the beginning, things seem to be going well, but it isn't long before our man finds that power isn't all that it is cracked up to be.  Sure it is great for the ego, but he is aging rapidly before the public's eyes.  In a few short years, he is no longer the healthy youngster that took power.  He looks like a tired old man, and it shows in his temperament.  In the past, he would be more willing to charm the audience, but as time goes on he becomes belligerent and quick to anger.  This leads to fewer and fewer people believing what he tells them.

Eventually, he loses the respect of the public.  He begins to question in the privacy of his own mind, if it was all worth it.  A decent person would admit publicly that mistakes were made, and he would try to do better, but not our man.  He continues to scheme and deny, but soon the schemes no longer make any sense and really just exist in his brain.  He has lost touch with reality.  His political enemies become more brazen and work to undermine him at every turn.  He is spending more and more time defending bad decisions instead of coming up with solutions to the problems he created.

This brings us to start of this post.  Everyone involved agrees that our man was a bad fit.  It seemed right at the time, but hindsight being 20/20 it was just wrong.  Our man eventually finds his way out of power, and the organization eventually purges itself of all of the awful decisions made during his tenure. It takes time and effort with a great deal of problems for a large number of people, but eventually the organization is able to recover and even thrive.  The only question that remains is, would the organization recovered sooner with less long-term issues had they removed our man sooner. History will judge the success or failure of our man and you should as well.