7 Signs You’re Wasting Your Talent 2017
Our client Kyra took a job as the Finance Director for a professional association that’s been around for a hundred years.
“I had stars in my eyes,” said Kyra. “When I interviewed with the CFO, he was so excited about all the new tools and ideas I had to share. The association has been doing things in the most old-fashioned way since forever!
“When I first started the job, I was the golden child. I brought in about twenty major innovations that made a huge difference. I got at least one ‘Way to go!’ a week from my boss.
“Then things shifted. My CFO didn’t like to keep hearing new ideas from me, even though the association was still in the Dark Ages in many areas of its Finance operations and in every other area of the business, too. It’s amazing how little the infrastructure had changed over the past two or three decades.
“There was a point around Christmastime last year when I could see that my boss was done taking in new ideas. He had wanted to refresh the association’s systems — not to usher in a new era of evolution the way he assured me. I was suddenly persona non grata. My CEO resented my presence.
“I guess when he hired me he thought I’d be content to share a few new ideas and get new systems up and running, and then I’d be happy to hunker down and do things the way the association has always done them — how ridiculous!”
Kyra only stayed in that job for nine months, but in that nine months she accumulated some of the best resume fodder in her career. Now she gets to tell the story of dragging the association leaders, kicking and screaming, into the current millennium.
Kyra got a new job with a more forward-looking organization. She had to go – she was wasting her talent in the hidebound association that talked about modernization but couldn’t walk the walk!
You might be wasting your talent at work, too. Talent is a horrible thing to waste! Not only is it frustrating and discouraging to go to work every day and have your ideas ignored, your accomplishments unnoticed and your creativity bottled up and squashed, but it also doesn’t help customers, shareholders or the world in general for your talents to go to waste!
Watch for these signs that will signal you “You need a bigger sandbox!”:
Good Ideas Are Seen as a Threat
I had a boss who would react with a long-suffering sigh whenever I suggested making any kind of change at work, no matter how small. He would say “Put that idea in the Someday File.”
“Why?” I asked him. “Why can’t we explore this idea, which could really help us?” My boss would sigh and walk away.
I didn’t understand in my twenties that my manager didn’t want to think. He didn’t want to work any harder than he had to. He had already gone to sleep on his job and his career. He didn’t want to rouse himself to think about doing anything new. There are a lot of people like that in the business world!
They can see new ideas as threatening to their power or to the mantra “This is the way we’ve always done it.” Luckily I got out from under that guy. You can do the same thing!
No Vision, No Plan
You will become frustrated at work when everywhere you look, people are completing tasks and executing processes merely because they’re part of a machine that has already been set in motion. Where’s the vision? Where’s the plan?
If you work in an organization where there is no grand vision or if there is one, nobody’s talking about it, get your resume out on the street! Without a vision for the future, no organization is going to accomplish great things.
The best they will do in the absence of a vision is tread water. That’s great for some people — not you!
Your Boss Is Not A Mentor
You can singe a fearful boss with your growing flame very easily even when you’re trying not to. If your boss is afraid of rocking the boat or making waves, you need a stronger mentor! If your boss cringes or tells you to pipe down when you speak up about important issues at work, he or she is not the best person to help you keep growing! The world is big. There are powerful mentors everywhere. Go find one!
You See No Future For Yourself
If you work in a place where there’s no forward path, what’s the point? Once you learn how to do the job, why stick around? If you can’t see a clear path to more learning, more juicy resume fodder and more personal growth at your job, you are wasting your time and talents there.
You might be bored in your first couple of jobs as a young person, because a lot of entry-level jobs are deadly boring. Once you’re 25, you shouldn’t be bored at work anymore. If the job is boring, you’re ready for bigger and better things!
You’re The Odd Man Out, Because You Like To Think
You can start to feel like you’re going crazy when you work among people who lack intellectual curiosity. You will ask “Why do we things this way? There’s got to be a better way” and they’ll say “What difference does it make?” You will squash your flame and your self-esteem working among people who don’t get you.
God bless them, they don’t deserve your talents. Your job is to find a more forward-looking team who gets excited about new ideas!
Policies Trump Passion
If you work in a place where everything is dictated by ancient crusty policies, you’ll never achieve your potential. We talked to a youngish guy named Raj who worked in a place like that. Raj was trying to rationalize his bad situation, as most of us have done at some point or other. “It’s not so bad,” said Raj. “My Director is awful, but he’s going to retire in seven years.”
“Seven years!?!” we replied. “How old are you, man?”
“I’m thirty-five,” said Raj.
“You’re going to wait seven years for this guy to retire, before you can make anything exciting happen at work?” we asked, incredulous. Raj thought about it.
“I could start a company and compete with my current employer. I could blow them away in seven years,” he said. “It’s just that I’m comfortable in my job.”
Raj thought he was comfortable, because he had a decent paycheck. But he was horribly uncomfortable, having bad dreams and dreading Monday mornings. Your body will signal you when it’s time to go!