December 18, 2006

the career manifesto

Micahel Wade from Execupundit sent me this:

The Career Manifesto

1. Unless you’re working in a coal mine, an emergency ward, or their equivalent, spare us the sad stories about your tough job. The biggest risk most of us face in the course of a day is a paper cut.

2. Yes, your boss is an idiot at times. So what? (Do you think your associates sit around and marvel at your deep thoughts?) If you cannot give your boss basic loyalty, either report the weasel to the proper authorities or be gone.

3. You are paid to take meaningful actions, not superficial ones. Don’t brag about that memo you sent out or how hard you work. Tell us what you achieved.

4. Although your title may be the same, the job that you were hired to do three years ago is probably not the job you have now. When you are just coasting and not thinking several steps ahead of your responsibilities, you are in dinosaur territory and a meteor is coming.

5. If you suspect that you’re working in a madhouse, you probably are. Even sociopaths have jobs. Don’t delude yourself by thinking you’ll change what the organization regards as a “turkey farm.” Flee.

6. Your technical skills may impress the other geeks, but if you can’t get along with your co-workers, you’re a litigation breeder. Don’t be surprised if management regards you as an expensive risk.

7. If you have a problem with co-workers, have the guts to tell them, preferably in words of one syllable.

8. Don’t believe what the organization says it does. Its practices are its real policies. Study what is rewarded and what is punished and you’ll have a better clue as to what’s going on.

9. Don’t expect to be perfect. Focus on doing right instead of being right. It will simplify the world enormously.

10.If you plan on showing them what you’re capable of only after you get promoted, you need to reverse your thinking.

Thanks, Michael!

[gapingvoid manifesto submission guidelines are here.][Manifesto archive is here.]

Posted by hugh macleod at December 18, 2006 6:51 AM | TrackBack

Wow, that was great! Especially "Focus on doing right instead of being right." That goes way beyond the category of "Career".

Kudos to Michael, and to you, Hugh. I love this series of Mini-Manefestos.

Posted by: John Windsor at December 18, 2006 1:26 PM

I only have one qualm.

#10 ( "If you plan on showing them what you’re capable of only after you get promoted, you need to reverse your thinking" ) presumes you work and can thrive in some sort of meritocracy, where hard work, talent and so on, is not only appreciated but also rewarded accordingly.

I have seen plenty of examples where that is not the case. Maybe those are madhouses and you have to leave. But leaving is not always a simple straightforward decision.

Most often, you are being managed by idiots and all too commonly fired even after having done tons of work. Result: you don't show commitment anymore...

I wish my world was as nice as yours, people.

I am a coder.
I am from Spain. (a joke of a country now...)

Posted by: Amateur Soldier at December 18, 2006 2:42 PM

the first half of this list is complete tripe, written by some middle manager who is pissed he doesn't have his underlings in line. great advice: suck it up, kiss your bosses feet, and TOW THE LINE because you can be out on your ass any second.

totally lame

Posted by: anon4 at December 18, 2006 3:41 PM

Thanks, John. I'm glad you liked it and I'm honored that Hugh printed it.

Posted by: Michael Wade at December 19, 2006 1:06 AM

Great Stuff. I like the "Litigation Breeders" line. I know about 20 guys like that. They just don't get it.

Posted by: Kevin at December 19, 2006 5:47 AM

One more thought - if you are not an active participant in the company revenue stream, you are expendable.

Posted by: Jack at December 20, 2006 7:50 PM

Wonderful advice, thanks.

Posted by: Chris Meisenzahl at December 21, 2006 12:13 PM

As an expansion to number 3, I would suggest getting real clear about the company mission, your department's role in that, and to crisply identify not only YOUR role in that mission, but how you can help it evolve to something more meaningful.

Posted by: Bob Berry at January 14, 2007 9:12 PM