CommonSmarts.com

Archives

Rocky is a highly curious person who wants to be exceptional. He has a question many people have. How can I be extraordinary? This is his story.
__
I want to be the best version of me I can be. I want success, Rocky thinks.

First things first, he studies hard and is admitted into a noteworthy college.

Four years later he graduates with a degree in liberal arts. He is recruited by a reputable company. They have high revenues, distinguished clientele, and accomplished staff.

Whether you’ve realized that you can do your boss’s job or that a 4-hour daily reverse commute to an office overlooking a park-n-ride isn’t your idea of a satisfying career, lots of people will tell you that there is no need to quit your job. That a job is a job is a job is a job. And it all comes down to what you make of it.

True, you can wisely devise a plan to create a new role for yourself in your existing org; discuss new options with your boss to telecommute; find a new gig; or you may even go so far as to launch a formal complaint with your HR department to get that internal bullying issue resolved. But let’s face it, you, the only change you have control over is “you”– whether you’re going to own your life or be a jackass in someone else’s.

And that’s a pretty tough dilemma, particularly when around every nook and cranny is another white-faced lie disguised as opportunity.

How do I mean exactly?

I love rainy days.

When I was a child, my teachers would ask the class, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

I would tell them, “I want to be a peacemaker.”

The students would laugh.

I would return home and see the desperation in my mother’s eyes. The longing.

Even if you could get away from it, the Iran-Iraq war was always on television. Taunting us in its journey of suffering.

I want to believe that I am self-sufficient. That within my ingenious female ecosystem lies impenetrable savvy.

The kind of savvy that will propel me into a position of leadership. A position worthy of a proper title.

After all, I am a strong candidate. A formidable opponent. A listener. A learner. A friend. A skilled and self-sacrificing business woman.

All in the name of the greater good.

I’m not self-sufficient.

I know an executive who makes his associates work 24/7. Oh, you know him, too? The arrogant, or ignorant, or insecure one who parallel-paths every workstream with the fast and loose inefficiency that makes you want to weep in your sleep?

But this story is not about him. This story is about you–the mid-level manager who gets sent in to do the dirty work whenever executive’s huevos are too full, and he doesn’t want to be seen as “the bad guy.”

Today you sit with a group of young, red-eyed associates. Your mandate is to yell. To teach these darling fledglings that blinking an eyelash on Saturday at midnight over a false deadline after enduring a grueling work week is unacceptable. In fact, no eyelash-batting shall be permitted. EVER. “Excellence demands unwavering focus.”

How do you approach it? What do you do?

Everyone remembers that scene in Meet the Parents when Ben Stiller makes a sweeping generalization about being able to milk anything with nipples, and Robert De Niro hilariously responds, “I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?”*

That’s the thing about sweeping generalizations. They’re only true sometimes. Sure, I happen to be a breastfeeding mom, and yes, you can milk me. (Well, not you specifically.) But that’s beside the point.

The point is this: people who don’t know me are speaking on my behalf. They are sharing studies in which I did not participate. They claim to understand my values. All because I was a young adult in the year 2000.

Before I continue, I know what you are thinking. “Oh goody, another entitled millennial speaks up.” And to this, I can only respond, indulge me.

With the loot companies are spending on unlocking the secrets of my enigmatic soul, why not? Better you hear it from the horse’s mouth. Heck, maybe we can work something out. After all, I am somewhat of an expert in all things me, and you are a brilliant and open-minded business guru.

So, without further ado, here are 15 requests I’d like to make of all employers, bosses, and the working community at large: