The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

Hey Buddy, Can I Interest You In A Free Prize?

Posted by jamesseetoo on September 9, 2009

By now you’re probably back from the long weekend and you’ve had a chance to realize that hey, just why was it I was in such a rush to get back to work?  Quarter ends are coming up and everyone is in a rush to make sure that they’re profitable by the end of the year but that last bit of Summer is still with us and the sun is beckoning.

And you’re at work.

I think it’s something that gets ingrained in our senses from coming back from our long summer school breaks where we were just able to have fun.  And so when we go back to work, it’s – well work.

But for those of you who have a job, you probably want to keep it – at least for now, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re advancing your career but just slogging away at your job.

And there are some of you who really enjoy your work and that’s great, keep it up.  You give the rest of us hope.

But as Simon & Garfunkel sing: “When you’re weary, feeling small – when tears are in your eyes” at work, you can grind it out or get out.

And when that happens, you’ve probably let your job define you.

But let’s re-frame that argument because it’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it?  If you’ve been doing the same thing over and over again, you’ve probably got the mental equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome.  And just like having physical carpal tunnel it hurts.

So like that old joke:

You: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor: “Then don’t do that.” (Rimshot)

Take the Doctor’s advice, don’t do that.  Try doing things a bit differently.  After all, if you don’t like doing things the same way, what have you done to try to make it better for yourself?  Chances are, what you’re experiencing is the same thing everyone else is so you have a chance to make it better for everyone.

And then you’ve added value to your job and to your career.

Now I’m not saying you have to make some major new breakthrough in data entry that will change the way data is entered all over the world.  But you can make an incremental change, a small bit of common sense evolution to what you’re doing that will make a difference for you and probably for your career.

Note and disclaimer: Obviously any incremental change should be made in compliance with all local, state and federal laws.  Bernie Madoff’s new take on the Ponzi scheme didn’t exactly end up well.

Seth Godin talks about the Free Prize Inside from his book entitled “The Free Prize Inside” – the incremental change that makes a product stand out in a crowd.  Eben Pagan talks about “moving the free line” when putting out a product, that is, giving away high value to get permission to market to an audience.  And many employers do things like supply coffee or subsidized lunches to their employees as a benefit (really it’s to give you more time at your desk, sneaky huh?).

But what are you giving yourself as a free prize career-wise?  Is there something you could do at your job that would make things easier or more stimulating for you?  Maybe you can try putting together a project or a new process?  Can you make things more efficient so you can spend more time drinking that free coffee?  Or even just researching a new way to do something will give you perspective and it might lead you to gain a new skill set that can take you into something more interesting.

And it doesn’t cost anything.  Just a little intellectual stimulation.  After all, who doesn’t like a free prize, especially if you’re a guaranteed winner.

Remember, you skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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One Response to “Hey Buddy, Can I Interest You In A Free Prize?”

  1. REIT said

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya 🙂

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