Yesterday I was checking off a few completed orders, filing some papers, filling out a spreadsheet or two and because I’ve been training my replacement I happened to stop in the moment or at least in my head and think, from the outside in it would really appear that I know what I’m doing. This came as a thought because for as long as I have worked at my company I have never felt like I was a) truly good at what I was doing and b) fully knew how to do my job and all of its intricacies. I feel like I should qualify those two statements. I don’t want you sitting there thinking man, she just basically said she sucks at her job. I don’t suck at my job. I won’t sit here and say that I’m the best or even a strong second, but I am capable and have done at least an above average job in my last four years. The thing about being really good in your profession, at least so it seems to me, is that it has to align at least on some degree with either your personality or your passions. When neither of those things are working for you, regardless of your talents or skills, the sheer lack of motivation alone can add to the detriment of your performance. But I think I’ve spoken enough about how ill fitting my job is for me, and all that jazz.
What I was really trying to talk about was the thought, if someone was watching you work what would they think about you and your performance? Would they think you looked like you knew what you were doing? Would they marvel at your efficiency?
I’ve always thought the way a person works speaks volumes about the way they work in their lives. I would say more often than not if you are lazy at work, chances are you are lazy at home as well. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, there are always exceptions to every rule. But I’ve never met a hard working person who hasn’t carried that same work ethic into their own life.
Which brings up another topic; unspoken truths and rules at work. Every workplace has them. Rules like, even though the technical workday hours end at 5:30 if you leave before 6:00 it will be a mark against you in the eyes of upper management. Or that the business casual dress code is more business less casual or vice versa. Or that the fantastical thought of taking a whole lunch hour is just that, a fantasy and you better pack your best turkey sandwich to be eaten at your desk instead of planning on hitting up the local Salsarita’s for a taco bowl.
Performance appraisals barely scratch the surface of your true competency and ability within your position. And the training manuals mass printed and distributed will never cover the real need to know facts about your new company or job. But because of the political nature behind every transaction and conversation at a corporate office, it’s impossible to fully disclose these things to the next unknowing individual.
If it were you training your replacement, what kind of “advice” would you offer?