I have moved from job to job over the past 10 years. The primary reason for my restlessness is that, after a year or so of hard work and dedication, I always seem to be second in line for a promotion. How can I move up and become candidate No. 1?
It’s important to keep in mind that, at some point, every No. 1 was stuck in line behind someone else. You aren’t sticking around long enough to move up the ladder.
The first thing I suggest is to let more time pass before you allow your discontent to take you from one job to the next. It is rare that an organization would trust a newcomer — especially one who has a track record of moving around — to ascend to a leadership post. Loyalty, understanding and specific company experience are all things that can’t be measured or earned in a short period of time.
There’s also something you can do to become a standout performer and, thus, a leader in waiting. I call it “Plus-1” living. I learned this philosophy while I ran my own small business and I was very eager to implement productivity strategies. Plus-1 living is making a small extra effort each day — something that, to most people, has an unnoticeable effect. Think of it as building compound interest in your value as a human resource.
If you invest $5 today instead of buying a cup of gourmet coffee and scone, at first you will hardly notice the benefit. In fact, the coffee drinker could easily argue that his benefit is much greater in value than your sacrifice. Even after doing the same thing for months, it is easy to brush off the value of investing $5 per day over the delicious taste of the coffee, not to mention the bounce it puts into your step. But after a year, that investment is worth at least $1,825. If that investment is made for only one year but goes on to earn a typical market return and doubles every eight years, the compounding result in 32 years is $29,000. Not bad!
Given enough time, even a small daily effort will always yield a good return. For sales people, it might be making one more call than their peers. For managers, maybe taking the extra few minutes to encourage, train or support a key player each day. For parents, perhaps extra, seemingly minor, day-to-day discipline or teaching.
The most difficult part of this for people to absorb is the delayed gratification it takes to rise to the top and to see your hard work pay off. The builders of St. Peter’s Basilica and Notre Dame Cathedral certainly needed to see the big picture. Brick by brick they built churches that they would never see finished in their lifetimes, yet they knew the value of their long-term investment.
Keep focused day in and day out and, one day sooner than you think, I believe you will feel the tap on your shoulder you’ve been waiting for. In the meantime, offer up the wait as a small sharing in the sufferings of Christ. You’ll be even more amazed at the return on that “investment.”
Catholic business consultant Dave Durand is online at DaveDurand.com.