While standing beside a lead-pilot as he worked on a schedule that was hopefully going to have me on it, I had an "out of body" experience earlier this year. It was one of those epiphanies.
I wish I had more of them.
I saw myself standing there, next to this manager, and wondered how - in his mind - I measured up. Then I looked at myself from outside and took my own measure.
We go through life individually doing our best. We want to take care of our families, and make a living. We grind it out. We have a talent that we sell for money. And the people who decide whether or not to select us for a job, project, or shift compare us to other members of the group when making that decision.
I often hear about people who don't get their way at work, and are angry, or upset. I wonder if they have thought to ask themselves - honestly - why this has happened. It's easy to blame outside factors for an adverse outcome, and much more difficult to look in the mirror and acknowledge that the reason we were not favored is...
I heard about a paramedic who was shocked and disappointed that he was not going to be selected for a position, and I wondered...how on earth could he not have known? Did he think that because he had been there for years he was "entitled?" Sure, longevity matters, but only if it is coupled with consistently reliable, satisfactory performance. Twenty years on the job doesn't mean that one can stop doing it, and our supervisors compare us to our peers each and every day. Why is it then that when we don't measure up we get angry and resentful?
I heard about another already-employed candidate who, when competing against people outside the company for a new position in the company, came to the interview not ready in her appearance and demeanor. What was she thinking? And how little was her understanding of human nature? People expect you to come to an interview dressing and acting the part. People may make a joke about you being overdressed - but if you are under-dressed they will say nothing and think the worst.
When people have to make a decision about you, remember that they are going to run all the memories of your interactions with them through their mind. If you have been a source of frustration, anger, anxiety, or disappointment, you are going to get this in return.
We have to be at least as good as the outsider off the street... every day.
Or we may find ourselves on the street instead.
We have to pay attention to our personal "brand," and the details of our job, and our relationships at work. This matters. If you don't believe it you are in line for disappointment.
There is no such thing as a "forever-job" anymore. Change and transition are constant. And during those transitions; from one owner to another, or one operating-model to another, some people get left behind.
Don't let it be you...