Part Four: What’s that One Thing That’s a 'You Thing'?

I was chatting with a friend of mine and I experienced this sudden realization that most of us are operating as jacks of all trades, but truly a master of none. So that saying wasn’t quite far-fetched by whoever coined it. We are placed in environs where we’re supposed to showcase our manifold skills, and these skills vary given the scope of work presented. Most of these skills are acquired along the way as we do different job sets, and not necessarily those that we have spent years mastering or even those that we are so passionate about and have spent some more time honing them. Today, people just care that a piece of work is assigned to someone and that a box is ticked as ‘completed’. The expertise applied is not a matter of so much concern. And that’s why we have substandard output, whether we call it out or not.

Gone are the days when you can easily say that this is one of the best shoe makers I know of, he’s a brilliant fashion designer, she’s the best business analyst, he’s an amazing graphic designer, she’s a superior programmer, she’s such a kickass photographer, he’s an excellent writer, he’s such a great chef, he’s a thorough accountant. We instead want to venture into everything ourselves. We want to try our hand at anything and everything that we can chance upon and see what we can make out of it and in most cases, in form of monetary returns. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, “oh well! At least we tried,” we say. We’re almost like scavengers on a carcass when an opportunity arises, even if it’s not in our area of expertise or interest and we know it.

Sometimes we even haven’t quite figured ourselves out, and what we’re experts in anyway. Like what is that one thing you do and you know once you’re done with it, that it’s the best job you’ve done and you can swear by it? This lack knowledge of what we’re masters in also affects how we carry out our team work. And so you’ll find people shying away from sharing work with other people who you know can deliver better results, because we want to get a bigger piece of the pie, we want to make an extra shilling or we want to gain some more recognition or receive the compliments.

I mean you’ll find someone applying for a job they know pretty well they’re not a good fit for, or even are not very much interested in, simply because the pay and the benefits are said to be good. You will find a company drawing a proposals and quoting for jobs they can’t deliver on, simply because it’s a good deal – even though they know pretty well that it’s not their area of focus as a business. And because of this, you find people operating on high stress levels, because they’re forced to deliver on works they haven’t mastered, don’t have an experience in or they’re just not passionate about. And because they want the paycheck at the end of the job, they’ll just deliver anything that seems to work to tick that box – the work is substandard and they lack the prowess and you can feel it.

On the flip side, I have also worked with people who have mastered their skill so well, that when they quote for the job, they deliver an outstanding job, and they do that over and over again. And you can can confidently say that ‘so and so’ is the best that there is in the market, because I have seen them do ‘this and that’ for ‘so and so’. They have also been candid enough to say, “this not my areas of expertise, but I know someone who does it so well.” And they refer someone who’s equally as good as they are, but in the said area. Promote and appreciate people’s skills when presented with an opportunity. The skills that they have honed over the years, or skills that they have taken the time and effort to master. It goes a long way and the good deed comes back when it’s your turn.

one thing

It’s important for us to have at least that one thing that’s a “you thing”. That one thing that you have mastered so well that if anyone was asked about who can deliver on that, they think of you first. That when someone is reading a job description somewhere, they see you written all over it, because it’s your thing. And when you get the job, it doesn’t stop there. Don’t feel entitled to it, because you’re not. There just as many people as talented as you are across the globe. So many people who can do exactly what you do and in their special way, and prosper too. So grasp opportunities with humility, not pride. Go ahead and be the best you can be out there. Make the person who respected and appreciated your work and even went ahead to refer you proud.

If you want to tell people that you were the person behind this campaign, behind this project, behind this event, behind this brand, then you best put your A-game out there, especially when it’s touching on ‘your thing’. Be sensitive about it if you have to, because when you own it, when you live it, you ensure it’s done well. But also never forget to recognize that you didn’t do it on your own (when you didn’t). Recognize your team, appreciate your team. Everyone who put their thing into it to make the output outstanding. Game recognize game! Not in that urban context, but you get the drift yeah.

See other other parts on this ‘Career Growth Series’ I’ve been onto here: Part ThreePart Two, Part One

On a lighter Friday note, what’s your weekend plan? Mine is Stories of Courage first! Also, it’s free, yippee! I hope to see you there. Then after that, it’s doing a serious home spring clean and just getting a proper weekend rest.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*