Feature: What Gives You the Edge?

Feature: What Gives You the Edge?

Feature: What Gives You the Edge?

We humans are not all that different from animal species. We think we are, Descartes assured us we were, but recent research suggests that we’re not. It’s been discovered, for example, that chimpanzees use sticks to hunt for food, bees communicate with one another through complex dances, and birds act as “social tutors” for their young. Smart as we are, our furry, feathered and flitting friends are apparently pretty smart too.

So, what sets us apart? As one scientist puts it, what gives us our “humaniqueness?” What put us at the top of the evolutionary ladder?

The differentiator, it turns out, is our ability to use our intelligence in different ways. We can use sticks to hoe a garden, to light a fire, to erect a house or even to fashion a pencil and write a sonnet. Chimpanzees can’t. We can communicate with our body language but also with our vocal cords. Bees can’t. And, we can teach our young the mores of society, but we can also teach them how to think for themselves. Birds can’t.

Animal knowledge, in short, is fixed. Our intelligence, on the other hand, is flexible. We can do with it as we will. We can tailor what we know to a diverse range of situations and scenarios. We can adapt and apply our knowledge to achieve alternative outcomes or even to acquire additional knowledge. We are multi-dimensional creatures-or at least, we have the potential to be-and it’s that diversity in the way we use our know-how that defines our “humaniqueness.”

But, there’s a problem. We have this inherent capacity for flexibility, and all too often, we ignore it in our careers. Consciously or unconsciously, we limit the application of our knowledge to a single milieu. We become expert in sales or finance or IT or customer service, and we squeeze our use of that expertise into an artificial box called a job description. Our talent in those fields almost always extends far beyond what we are asked to do, yet we let ourselves be held back by that truncated definition of our capability. And when that happens, we give up our “humaniqueness,” at least in the workplace.

Why do we let that happen? Why don’t we make better, broader, more unconstrained use of our talent on-the job?

  • In some organizations, of course, it’s against the rules to work outside the lines. When you do more than what’s asked for, you “buck the system,” and that breach of cultural norms can be hazardous to your career-at least, your career in that organization.
  • In other cases, we do what we’re told because we’re afraid of what will happen if we do more. Taking the initiative to contribute more than what’s expected can open us to the criticism of our peers or to abusive behavior by our bosses.
  • And in still other cases, we stick to what we’re obligated to do because to do otherwise requires that we invest more effort than we’re used to or comfortable with. We have to work harder, smarter or both, and we don’t see why we should.
  • While all of these situations clearly exist in the workplace, they are not the principal reason we abandon our “humaniqueness” on-the-job. In my view, the number one reason most of us don’t work beyond our job description is because we don’t realize that we can (or should). So, here’s my modest proposal for 2009. Be the multi-dimensional person you have the capacity to be. Throw off the shackles of your employer’s job description and contribute your special talent as broadly as you can.

    Adopting that course of action will empower you to realize your best self on-the-job. It will take you beyond the organization’s definition of your talent to one you create on your own. And, that level of performance provides you with two very important benefits:

  • First, job descriptions are the definition of what employers expect in normal times. In times such as these, they need more, even if they don’t say so. The fulsome use of your talent, therefore, makes your contribution more valuable to the enterprise, and that appreciation of your role, in turn, reinforces your employment security. Said another way, working beyond the scope of your job description-doing well what you’re supposed to do and then doing even more-is the single best way to protect yourself in an unstable employment environment.
  • Second, job descriptions describe jobs-boxes on an organization chart-not individual human beings. Working beyond the box, therefore, enables you to become the most broadly accomplished person you can be in the workplace. It captures your “humaniqueness.” More than just setting you apart from animals, however, and more than just differentiating you from some box, that term also signifies that you are a special performer. You position yourself as a unique human, one who refuses to be held down by any constraints on your work because you want to experience the epitome of your talent.
  • As you get ready to launch off into the New Year, remember your “humaniqueness.” It’s what gives you an edge, on the evolutionary ladder and on the organization chart.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Commit an Intentional Act of Kindness. Do something special for a friend or colleagues in these difficult times. Tell about them WEDDLE’s newsletter. It’s the best advice they’ll never have to pay for!

    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book. It offers a gentle way to survive and prosper in tough times.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    AARP published a study entitled Retirement Security or Insecurity? which found that 65% of workers aged 45 and older are likely to delay their retirement. What’s that mean for you? Whether you’re over 45 or under that age, you’re likely to have more competition for good employment opportunities. What should you do? Figure out some stuff. Here’s my list for a successful career in 2009 and beyond:

  • Figure out what you love to do;
  • Figure out what you do best;
  • Figure out what kind of organization makes you feel comfortable (e.g. flat, hierarchical, formal, casual);li>
  • Figure out what kind of management style brings out the best in you (e.g., lots of supervision or minimal supervision); and
  • Figure out what work structure enables you to perform at your peak (e.g., working in teams or individually).
  • The key to charting a successful career is knowing where you can put the champion inside you to work. A job search, therefore, is actually a quest to find the organization, boss and position that matches your preferences … not the other way around. It’s a commitment you make to yourself to settle for nothing less than the specific situation-the right job with the right boss in the right organization-that will enable you to excel. I know that’s easier said than done, especially in tough times. But consider this: you spend at least one-third of your life at work, so you owe it to yourself to find an employment opportunity that’s good enough (for you) to balance the goodness in the rest of your life. That’s the real work-life balance … not the other way around.

    WEDDLE’s is pleased to announce the publication of Peter Weddle’s soon-to-be career classic–Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System. Specifically designed for those who want to be the master of their career rather than its victim, this book has two uniquely powerful features:

  • First, it introduces a revolutionary approach to working and it provides a set of daily, weekly and monthly activities that will empower you to Work Strong and achieve the career success you deserve.
  • Second, it enables you to acquire a deep understanding of Career Fitness by explaining its principles and practices both in traditional prose and through an accompanying story-the Diary of a Career Activist.
  • This book will change the way you view your work, your employment, your employers, your career and your workplace dreams. It will give you the knowledge and the know-how to transform the one-third of your life you spend on-the-job into a rewarding and fulfilling experience. For more information and to order your copy of Work Strong, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Act now, before your career suffers cardiac arrest … or what most of us call unemployment!

    WEDDLE’s publishes the perfect job search tool for hard times-an inexpensive, quick and easy-to-use series of guides to the best job boards and career portals online. Think of them as the CliffsNotes to career success on the Internet. Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, each book includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineers,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! Get one for yourself and one for your spouse or partner, son or daughter, friend or colleague or boss. They’re helpful to any and everyone regardless of their years of experience. To order your WIZNotes, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Order today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications that can help you land the job of your dreams, even in today’s tough job market. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Finding a job in the present environment is difficult; finding a great job is even more difficult. Part of the challenge is knowing where to look. With over 50,000 job boards in the U.S. alone, there are lots of places where you can waste a lot of time and effort. How can you avoid that trap? Be a smart consumer. Get the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. They will help you identify the job boards that will work best for you. So, don’t delay! Call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here to place your order today.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    PennEnergyJOBS

    http://www.pennenergyjobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Number of jobs: 2,500+

    Salary levels of jobs: Up to $200K+/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 1 year

    Restrictions on who can post: Must have industry experience

    Other services for job seekers: Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book. It offers a gentle way to survive and prosper in tough times.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.