I’m 23 years old and only on my sixth month in the company. Yet, I now feel bored with my job and disillusioned with corporate life! I can deliver the tasks given me ahead of the others in our team because I’m used to working fast. I don’t get any feedback from our team leader who is always preoccupied with his computer. I don’t want to bother the other team members who seem to be busy doing their work (or are they?). So, I spend this slack time sending/reading my personal emails or playing computer games. Team meetings also bore me to death. Nothing is accomplished by talking which is all that is done during meetings. And I had thought I would do well so that I could become visible and be placed in the talent pool. I don’t know what my chances are to be in the talent pool. What should I do?
Mr. Fast Worker
For one so young and only starting in your career, you are already experiencing boredom with your job and disillusionment with corporate life and finding attending meetings boring. If you allow these negative attitudes to prevail, you are certain to be disillusioned and bored wherever you go. Boredom and disillusionment are seen in your disinterest, passivity and work disengagement as shown in the use of the office computer and company time for your personal enjoyment, etc. which are sure to slam shut the door to the talent pool that you eagerly seek. Working fast on the tasks assigned to you will most certainly produce low quality work, a violation of the universal core value of excellence. Ask yourself: are your tasks accomplished according to the standards of your internal customers, e.g., your team leader and your colleagues who use your outputs for their inputs? If you don’t have a sure answer to this, find a way of getting feedback from them. Don’t let your perception that your team leader is preoccupied with computer work stop you from asking him to meet with you and go over your work with you.
You have a long way to go in your work/career life. There are many things to learn on the “long way to the corporate boardroom”. You will miss out on valuable learnings if you are always in hurry to finish your work so that you can play. Remember Aesop’s fable on the turtle and the hare.
High IQ, technical competence, positive attitudes, good character and positive interpersonal relationships are what will make you visible and make you a valued employee. Having a good track record in every position given you will be your passport to a successful career.
If you care about your employment in the company and you are ambitious to go to the top, you need to make an important “inside-out” change. “Inside” refers to your paradigms about yourself, about you job, about meetings, about other people, etc. Your paradigms affect your perceptions and attitudes which, in turn, affect your behaviors. Changing these “inside” of you will bring about change in your work behaviors which are the ones observed by your team leader and co-team members, and which become the basis of their perception and appraisal of you.
Since you sought my advice, let me react to the following negative behaviors that you show that certainly do not create a good impression of you:
1. Boredom with your job because you are a fast worker and you finish the tasks given to you ahead of the others. This makes you feel superior to your teammates. Because you have time in your hands, you spend it by sending/receiving personal emails and using company time for your personal pleasure. This is plain and simple stealing time from the company. Check out with your team leader if he is satisfied with your outputs. Request him for feedback. Don’t wait for him to initiate a feedback meeting; ask him for it.
2. Being bored to death attending meetings which to you is your time waster. Attending meetings is part and parcel of work/business/corporate life. Again, you have to have a paradigm shift about meetings. See meetings as productive when you see it as an opportunity to connect with your team members on a personal level and to build friendships that will lead to collaboration and teamwork. Before the meeting, find out the agenda so you are prepared. See meetings as an opportunity for you to contribute your ideas/opinions, to listen to the ideas/opinions of others, to update yourself on what others in your team are doing, to ask relevant questions, to respond to questions if you know the answers, etc. If you do these, you will find meetings enjoyable and will look forward to attending and participating in them. Never use your cell phone while the meeting is going on. This is rude and shows lack of respect.
Here is a tip: even though you are not assigned to do this, write down the action plans, i.e, what is to be done, by whom and by when. This is a great way of knowing your team members when you casually make “Kumusta?” to them, so that when you do have time, you can even offer to be of help to them.
You do not seek to be included in the talent pool. This is a consequence of your accomplishments, your leadership potentials, your positive “can do” attitudes, and your ability to get along well and to work with your team leader and colleagues.
In the Sunday, January 9, 2011 issue of Working People of The Sunday Inquirer, a young person who considered himself an “eager beaver” asked me for tips on how to become a good employee so that he could retain his job and progress in his career in the good company that employed him.
I quoted to him pertinent portions from a chapter on “Get a New Start in Your New Job” from my book Managing Work and Career. I listed the following and followed it with a brief description of each one:
- Know the duties and responsibilities of your job and do them excellently;
- Know the required competencies to do these duties and responsibilities and make sure you acquire these competencies;
- Know and appreciate your company; its mission, vision and core values and how these values are to be expressed in behaviors, attitudes and performance;
- Develop and strengthen a good and positive relationships with your team leader and colleagues;
- Active participation in meeting;
- Have an attitude of continuous improvement of your outputs and the process you use to produce them;
- Fast track your development by welcoming multi-tasking to acquire more and varied skills. After office hours and week-ends, read books and journals on your field of specialization, and on leadership and management.
You see, there is so much to learn and to do, there is no time for boredom and no reason for disillusionment.
God bless you.
Josie O. Santamaria