Double Parked Outside Starbucks

Double Parked Outside Starbucks

In most cities and towns, it’s against the law to double park. Running in to the local Starbucks to get an extra hot skinny latte isn’t an exception. Yet, that doesn’t seem to bother some of us. Apparently, they think the rules don’t apply to them. They don’t just double park, they cut into lines at airports, they don’t stop at Stop signs on the road, and they leave their garbage behind on park benches.

Why do these people act that way? Unlike Freud, I don’t think their parents messed them up. No, I think the reason is much closer to home. Consciously or unconsciously, they’ve come to the fixed opinion that they aren’t covered by the rules. They believe that they’re simply too smart, too important, too special to worry about the silly little strictures that order life for everybody else.

So, this post is for them. It’s not about the rules of society. It’s about the rules of the workplace. Rules that apply to everyone … even those who are very smart, very important and very special.

Rule #1: No one owes you a job. Employment is not guaranteed in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. If you want to work, you’re going to have to work to make it happen.

What does that mean? In the 21st Century:
You have to have state-of-the-art skills. You need a skill set that’s actually in demand in today’s workplace, not something that would keep you employed in 1989. And you need a 2009 level of expertise in that field, not one that was current in 1999 or even in 2005.
You have to possess more than one skill. It doesn’t matter whether you have a PHD or 25 years of experience. To work in your primary field, you need additional capabilities, like speaking a second language or knowing how to use the latest software system.

Rule #2: No one owes you an enjoyable and fulfilling career. Not your boss, not your employer, not your mentor or your mother and father. If you want a rewarding career, you’re going to have to reward your career with more priority and attention.

What does that mean? In the 21st Century:
You have to take responsibility for your career. There are plenty of opportunities in today’s workplace, but also more than a few pitfalls. You can take charge of your career and decide what happens or you can turn it over to luck or your employer and become its victim.
You have to work on your career every day. Not just when you’re out of work or thinking about your next salary review. The world of work is changing at warp speed. You can either keep up or get left behind.

Sorry, but the days of immortal gods went out with the Romans. It doesn’t matter how exceptional you are, in today’s world of work, the rules apply to everyone. Ignore them and you may get your extra hot skinny latte before everyone else; but you will always be at the end of the line when it comes to finding work and a satisfying career.

Thanks for reading,
Peter