Career Mistake – Sleeping alone in a Double Bed
Last week , I received a call from a friend of mine . Lets call him James. He wanted to meet me at urgently. By the tone of his voice , I realized there must be something wrong and we agree to meet next day.
Next day, James walks into my office early. He has been asked to resign by his employer – James shares with lots of desperation and frustration. [ Read: Letter from Father to Son – Make Time for Life ]
I didn’t respond to the news directly and instead asked him – what does he seek to achieve with this meeting ? What’s the objective ?
James was not expecting this question. He fumbled and said he would like to tell me how he has been wronged. [ Read: Yoga is an APP & Religion is like an OS
So , you want me to hear you out . Right ? He says yes, that’s correct.
Let me give you some background to the story.
James got this job 9 months back. I had played an active role in him getting the job. Around 4 months back, his manager issues an official memo on his lack of performance. Two months later, a 2nd formal memo in the form of Performance Improvement Plan was given to him as there was no visible improvement.
James started narrating how hard he has worked in last 9 months , how much of efforts he has put etc . But results are far below the committed level.
I enquired why the hard work was not getting converted into commensurate results .
James goes into great details how the external circumstances have led to his poor performance.
What did you do when you got the first official email on your performance ? Did you reach out to your manager and his manager to seek guidance on what exactly you should be doing?- I enquired . [ Read: From Free Meal to Free Condom – Letter to my Son ]
The answer was NO.
Its been two months that you got the 2nd notice . Have you done anything different since then ? James replied that he started working even harder.
Why did you not reach out to anyone who could have guided you ? James said he thought seniors might not appreciate it.
Where did James go wrong ? What could have he done differently ?
- When the going gets tough, thoughts gets muddy . The ability to differentiate between what we think we know and what is the reality reduces drastically. James assumed many things and forgot that our assumptions are just assumptions and not knowledge. The only way to know the reality is to seek out . Ask the other person – why do you think my performance is poor ; Are you upset with me for something ? Don’t assume – just ask.
- Communicate – In an organization there are many stakeholders besides our manager who cares about our performance. Find a way of communicating your plan, efforts , results and challenges to all of them. Its not about blowing our trumpet . Its about acknowledging the fact that our performance matters and there are many stakeholders who cares about our performance and they deserve to know . Make it a formal communication . I prefer weekly . If that’s difficult , make it bi-monthly . But please do it regularly . James didn’t do any of those. [ Read: From Free Meal to Free Condom – Letter to my Son ]
- Reach out and reach out well in advance. No one can succeed in this world alone. The good news is that all of us have people around us who are willing to and capable of helping us. All it takes is reaching out .
We got a double bed to sleep , lets not make the mistake of sleeping single.