It Isn’t Rocket Science!

Written by Steve Gwisdalla

April 9, 2019

Admittedly, I am new to this whole blogging thing. It seems everyone has something to say. And more and more, it seems everyone who has something to say, says nothing more than their opinion. Well here, you will get that very thing. Just kidding! I have read just enough books to be dangerous and lived just long enough in the world of recruiting/staffing and organizational development to be deadly.

My aim here is to help people who are looking for help. Figuring out what we want to be when we grow up is never easy. That doesn’t mean it has to be any more difficult than absolutely necessary.

I recently posted something on my Facebook page which asked, “If you could do anything you want and money wasn’t an object, would you be doing what you are doing or would it be something else? If it is something else, what would it be and why aren’t you doing it? Now, I know what you are thinking…That is an entirely too long-winded Facebook status update. I agree. The responses I got and the discussion that ensued was both enlightening and more than a little humorous. Gotta love my father, who said he wanted to be CEO of MGM Casino. I had to mention the shareholders may frown on their CEO living in the quarter slot area and demanding free drinks and comps.

The underlying thing that seems to be holding people (at least my Facebook friends) is fear. For most it was a simple fear of failure. For a couple brave souls, it was fear of success. But the subsequent postings all validated that fear is a terrible thing and should be destroyed at every opportunity. How do we conquer this mighty beast you may ask? In a word…Play!

It begins early in life. I have been blessed beyond measure to have a son, who since he started talking around age 3, has been running…er…I mean living under our roof. Little Man (his awesome nickname) has taught me, or should I say re-taught me that is perfectly acceptable to be a kid again. I have re skinned very old scars on my knees, complained to my wife about my stiff back and pulled muscles trying to wrestle and play and otherwise keep up with LM. And you know what? It is awesome!

Dr. Jenn Berman in her book “Superbaby” talks about teaching our children the important value of play. She says, “Play is crucial for child development on every level. Play, starting in babyhood is inexorably linked to learning, socialization, and development.”

 

How can play make us happier at work and choosing a career that will truly fulfill us you ask? By forgetting about the stress such fear creates! My good friend @john waldo recently posted a blog about burnout at and how it can cripple even the best and strongest of us. A link to John’s blog is at the bottom of this blog.

One last comment on fear before we continue. Fear, in and of itself is not a bad thing. Growing up in Metro Detroit, most people have heard the name Bob Lutz. In his unapologetic book, “Guts” Mr. Lutz even points out that, “A little fear, in all reality, ain’t all that bad.

So let me ask again. If you could do whatever you were most passionate about and money was not an issue, what would you do? If you are not liking the answer you are giving yourself, perhaps alternative career paths should be considered. Forget fear for a minute. Remember when you were young? What was the first thing you ever remember telling adults you wanted to be “when you grew up? Was a Director of Human Resources? Was it an Account Executive? It isn’t rocket science.

With rare exceptions (well, Rocket Scientist comes to mind) the greatest determining factor employers look at when hiring people is? Anyone? Skill set? Appearance? Wrong and potentially lawsuit-in-waiting wrong…It is…

Personality and corporate culture fit-a-ability. I challenge anyone who has ever interviewed to remember the first thing you have said out loud or thought when an excellent candidate left your interview room. I will bet you a bridge to nowhere that it wasn’t;

“I think they have the requisite skill sets to perform the functions we are seeking to have filled.”

or…

“I think they have the aptitude to do all the menial tasks bestowed on a new Junior Engineer grade 1.”

No! If it wasn’t the first thing out of your mouth, it was definitely top 2. It was,

“I liked them.”

That friends is the secret to obtain the keys to the kingdom. I have sat with C-level executives in interviews for top management positions in multi-billion dollar companies. I have also sat in interviews with company founders looking for a Secretary for his/her $2mil business, as well as everything in between. I have always heard those immortal words come out of their mouths as the first post-interview words regarding the candidate that was ultimately hired. “I liked him” or “I liked her.”

So it stands to reason that if “like” is such a comprehensive part in finding quality employees, shouldn’t we as employees empower ourselves to find something we actually “LIKE” to do? I would never be so foolish to think that skills don’t factor into play. But who out there who would challenge this would argue that when considering 2 people of equal skill sets, the employer will always hire the one they “liked” the most.  I would like to end there. My next topic will be fear. How do we overcome it and how do we put a collar on it so it will become a disciplined pet, not an overpowering ogre?

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