I’ve talked about my career and it’s hiccup this past year when I had to get my degree to continue a career path at the ripe old age of 53. Yes, it took almost 38 years to go from graduating High School at 16 through the night classes from ECU at Cherry Point MCAS extension campus to the graduation from SCF in the summer of 2013.
Each step of the way after high school I found an excuse to not reach for great. To not do my best, to not get it done. In fact, lets be honest, I just didn’t want to put in the effort to do it. I was lazy and I will admit it. Working for the Sarasota County School Board I have always given my best. I made it to where I was last year because I had finally decided to work hard and stick with one thing and do it well. I thought that doing a great job and being the best was good enough, but it wasn’t. I hadn’t paid the price of admittance, which is a college degree. The work, the proof that I could learn, I stayed with it to get the degree and went down the proper path.
When the department reorganized I had to do it. I had to make a decision of whether I wanted to be where I was or if I wanted to just go back to the easy career which was a dead end. Well, I obviously went back to school, took my four courses, made the Presidents List with straight A’s and graduated. I also got a position at the district level that is even more challenging than what I did the last 4 years and I get to tinker with cool technology. As an example, in the last week I worked with coworkers and vendors to finish moving our SharePoint implementation to the Big-IP F5 load balancer. It’s fun, we move a major application that all district employees use everyday from an ISA server implementation to the F5 for authentication and load balancing. I also learned how to code a mobile site, cool stuff!
I cared to follow my dream to do cool things, I didn’t say, “but”, or take the easy way out and take a step back. I am doing “Great.”
Enjoy the video below about Failing to get that Great Job by Larry Smith from Ted Talks.
I read a lot as time permits. Time does not permit me to write or comment much anymore though. After tonight’s reading and events a few weeks ago I decided to take a few minutes to share.
There are a zillion books, self help magazine articles and the like on how to be a better manager. I have read a few myself and until tonight had not found too much that worked consistently. A lot of things work, but they wore out and fell on deaf ears. Kind of like the sports coach that gets fired because the players tuned out his message. On the other hand, what I read tonight is just plain common sense.
It’s almost the Golden Rule, show your people you care about them and they will start to care about what you say. Until they feel you care they will just nod and smile, then go back to doing it the way they have been. If I want someone to follow me, I need to instill the confidence that I have their back. If I don’t then I will have to work harder, check up more and get less accomplished.
Think about it, don’t you feel the same way about your boss? Even if you are a manager, you have a manager above you. The manager above the President? That would be us and we are also the people below him too. Vicious circle, he needs us to care about him to get reelected and we need him to care about us so that we have a better way of life.
On Fathers Day I will take this one step further. Our children need to know we care about them, that we love them, that we will always be there for them. It doesn’t take much, just a hug or a smile. Just taking the time to listen to them or play Rescue Hero’s.
A friend made a comment to one of my rhetorical questions last week that make me think. I was talking to myself aloud and said
“I don’t understand, it’s not rocket science.”
“Because they haven’t been doing anything to learn anymore than they have too. They made themselves dumber.”
I had never thought about it like that because I am always reading, learning the new trends, trying new things. I never thought about just doing what I needed to get a job done. I don’t want to be the other guy, I want to be the best. I always keep this quote from Ray Kroc in my mind:
When you’re green you’re growing. When your ripe you rot.