It takes a person with a pretty big ego to think seriously about putting pen to paper to write advice about being a good employee for the masses. Nobody’s bosses are the same, no two situations are the same, and in reality a single set of rules or thoughts will not work for everybody. Happily for all of us (except maybe me) I have a big enough ego to do it.
All joking aside though, what I really have is the motivation to do it. The older I get, the more and more I value people as individuals. I know it’s lame that it took me this long to get to this point, but I can admit it. Up until my mid-twenties I really didn’t care about anyone but myself. Yes, I know I was nice to some of you (and yes, I know I was mean to even more of you). The thing that it boils down to is motivation. Back in those days, when I was nice to people I was generally doing it for some personal gain. That might have been something as simple as not rocking a boat because it made my life easier not to rock it, or it could have been more active. Even the real friendships that I made the effort for were more about avoiding loneliness than they were about true concern for someone else’s wellbeing. Anything beyond that was simply social protocol (BBT is really rubbing off!).
Then in my mid-twenties I had some major things happening, I lost all that weight, I came back to Jesus and I was starting to grow up and mature a little bit. As a result, things started to shift. I started to actually care about how I affected other people. In particular I started to really care for my friends (also known as the people who put up with me in the old days) and the people that I worked with or interacted with on a regular basis. This was obviously a wonderful change in my life. Over time this tendency grew stronger, so much so that in the last few years I began to care for the people who worked for me in much the same way that a parent cares for a child. Obviously that’s not a perfect comparison, but it helps you get the point, the desire to see good things happen in the lives of the people I cared about was very strong.
Recently I’ve started to notice a new change. I believe it’s a natural outgrowth from the feelings I just described, but it kind of surprised me nevertheless. The change is that I’ve started to care for the life experience and wellbeing of people that I’m not engaged with. Obviously my feelings are still there for the people that I’m close to, but I’m finding that those feelings are also there when I’m not close to the person. For example, in the past, if I learned that I might have hurt the feelings of someone who I didn’t have a relationship with I would shrug it off, put on my tough guy hat and think that they needed to toughen up if they were going to make it in the world. Now, I’m more likely to apologize, even publically with plenty of risk of embarrassment to try and make it right for that person.
I think the root of the change is the empathy for the circumstances of other people. Now that I’m writing about it, I’d have to say that it might be a function of having more of my own experiences to draw on. I’m more likely to have a similar situation now that I can reference it and remember how it made me feel. Then I think the empathy takes over.
Anyway, back to my main point. I have a big ego…
Wait, that wasn’t my point.
Oh yeah, my point is that this empathy for other people can be very motivating. Even though I know I may end up offending someone or giving someone bad advice, I think it’s still better than sitting back and doing nothing when I see that so many people could be helped with just a little advice. Even more, so many people are interested in that advice, but they don’t have someone in their life that has the experience to see the truth and the courage to speak it.
So what am I going to do about it? I’m going to attempt a bi-weekly series of articles focused how to be a good employee and how to grow in your role, impress your boss and build upon your current success. My cautious side is telling me to say that I’ll only commit to monthly articles, but I think it would be better to shorten the work and aim for a higher frequency. I know that some of my previous work is difficult to digest due to its size. Hopefully this will force me to tighten up and deliver. My writing style will remain largely the same; it’s more fun to be me than it is to be professional J.
So, with all that being said, if you’re interested, check back for the first article on the evening of November 28th.