What type of worker are you?

DFN: Word of advice regarding how to survive / thrive in the workplace

Workplace Organization: Are You The Lackey, The Arguer or The Promotable?
Posted: 29 Oct 2009 09:13 AM PDT

Broken lines, brok.en strings, broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads, People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain’t no use jiving. Ain’t no use joking. Everything is broken.
Broken bottles, broken plates, broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts, Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken, Everything is broken.
Seem like every time you stop and turn around, Something else just hit the ground
– Bob Dylan

Last week’s debate about the state of corporate recruiting got me thinking. It seems like an awful lot of things are broken. And, it seems like there are a ton of people who want to fix them.

Sometimes it seems like we’re moving from a culture of innovation to a culture of maintenance. Fixing broken stuff is just not the same as imagining new things. There’s a place for both but it’s a real mistake to confuse one with the other.

There are three types of people in any organization: 70% are Lackeys (brown nosers); 20% are Argumentatives (live to disagree with the boss); and 10% are Promotable (know how to give good advice and then go with the decision). This thinking applies to the various broken things in our organizations.

In recent years, the flow of technology and the aging of our society have conspired to create a kind of shell shock. We’ve seen so many new things that we can barely stomach another. At the same time, we’re aging as a culture and therefore less able, or at least less inclined, to adjust to new things.

The result is that people who are introducing new ideas have learned to talk about them as if they were obvious repairs for obviously broken stuff. We’re so tired of the new that when someone approaches us with the requisite evangelism, we flee. That’s how so many things that are way better than they used to be fall into the “broken” category.

When you’re investigating a job possibility, you have to be clear whether you want to be a fixer, a creator or a great worker. Then you have to figure out which one the boss wants. Remember that she’ll most likely see you as a lackey, an argumentative or a Promotable.
If you want to be a creator, consider becoming an entrepreneur. Organizations naturally favor the status quo (there are some counter examples but not many). Being an entrepreneur means that you don’t have to spend as much time persuading people to get started. Think back about the types of people in an organization. If you want to create, you’re likely to be viewed as argumentative and routinely dismissed. Generally, people viewed as argumentative are the first to go during the layoffs.

If you want to improve things, you have to learn how to make a suggestion and then take “No” for an answer. This is what bosses think of as a “Promotable” contributor. In 21st century companies, sticking to your guns after the decision is made makes you an Argumentative. The Promotable worker is like a good hitter in baseball. Each at bat is an opportunity to improve the average. Success once every five at bats is good performance for a major leaguer.

Great workers run the risk of being viewed as Lackies. A positive attitude, the willingness to accept things as they are, the desire to deliver value and the aspiration to do one’s job well may just be seen as ‘brown nosing’. In a large number of companies, long-term survival depends on being a good worker in spite of what the more favored clique thinks of you.

Things are different as your career progresses. It’s traditional for a new manager to immediately reverse the decisions of her predecessor. In the ranks of management, “Everything is Broken” is often the point of departure.


Blog Your Way to a New Job

DFN: What to do / not to do when you’re blogging and you’re using it (blogging) as a tool in your job search (like I am).

Blog Your Way to a New Job
By The Mergis Group

As a platform to get you out in front of and noticed by more people, blogging is a powerful tool. Present yourself effectively, and you could catch the attention of key decision-makers at your next job.

Describing his 25th high school reunion, a friend commented: “It was like all the photos in our yearbook came to life!” The two-dimensional teenagers on the page popped to life in three dimensions.

In fact, for job seekers, top-notch blog posts can help you come to life for recruiters and executives in the accounting and finance industry. Whether you create your own blog or comment on blogs written by industry leaders, blogging can help you land that great new job.

Either way, the goal is the same: to bring you and your unique qualifications and skills to decision-makers. Blogs can also augment your resume (include a link when you apply for a job.)

Here are five tips on blogging your way to that great accounting or finance job:

1. Wow them with words.

Start a blog that highlights your professional expertise and cutting-edge insights. Whether it’s the latest trends or examples of best practices, make your blog the go-to site for professionals in your field.

In terms of content, make it timely (update regularly), factual and absolutely free of plagiarism or other unauthorized “borrowing.”

Also, keep in mind a blog is a written communication geared to a professional audience. A blog is not a hastily written text message to your buddy. That means the quality of the writing matters, as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar.

2. Beware of the intersection of life and work.

While blogs give you a great opportunity to share your experience, beware sharing too much. No one in your professional circles needs to know you what you did last night or how your boss makes your feel.

If you need to share aspects of your personal life with the world, do it in a separate forum.

3. Comment with care

Reading and commenting on other people’s blogs puts you in direct, timely contact with a broad swath of people in your industry. Express your thoughts but be aware that cyberspace entries live forever and professional circles are small.

That means no attacks, no snide comments, no “jokes” that can be misinterpreted.

4. Include your contact information and a brief bio on your blog.

Let people know how to reach you. In fact, you could be contacted by people doing exactly what you’re doing; looking for work and seeking to expand their professional networks. You could find a great candidate for your own work team.

Also, feel free to provide a bit of context; who you are, how long you’ve been in the industry, what your work entails. This helps distinguish the newbie’s from more experienced practitioners and lays out your skills and experience.

5. Focus on key accounting and finance words and search engines.

Maximize traffic to your blog by using key, industry-specific words and giving each entry a compelling, strategic title. References to other companies and executives will also show up on search engines, which could also work in your favor.