Part 1: Finding an exceptional home for your exceptional skills

The Joker in The Dark Knight is portrayed by H...
Try telling this guy he is not engaged in his work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exceptional workplaces. We have all heard or read about them. You know the organisations I mean: ones that everyone mentions as bastions of good practice in those ‘water-cooler’ moments you sometimes have during your day. But what is it that makes them exceptional? Their people. So why are you not one of them? Is the truth that you might in fact be working in an exceptional organisation, but you are in fact not  the exceptional individual you thought you were cracked up to be? Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you might have fallen in to this trap – but the good news is that it is your fault (yes, good news).I would not describe myself as a sci-fi/action fanboy, but when I take an interest in a movie I think my behaviour is best described as total infatuation. My wife would suggest that in the case of Christopher Nolan’s work on the Dark Knight and Inception, it has reached obsession levels. But she might choose some other words than obsession to express her feelings on the subject.

Apart from those, one of film that got way too in to was the Matrix. I especially love the scene when Neo meets the Oracle, having a conversation about knowing about being ‘The One’, and ‘knowing thyself’. It is something of a ‘eureka!’ moment for the character, and one that I love watching over again.

Many times we might view ourselves, in an employment search context, as being a Neo-esque candidate.  But even he had to go realise that, in the first instance, he was not up to the job and there was plenty of road ahead of him in the journey to becoming ‘The One’.

Enter the MatrixSo what is stopping you from being the candidate that is ‘The One’, or even being at-one (see what I did there?) with an exceptional organisation?

Truth might be that you need to ‘know thyself’ a little bit more. Before you approach one of these organisations ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my current role or career path one which I am really proud and keen to discuss with new people I meet?
  • Do I spend a lot of my free time thinking about solutions and fresh ideas to work problems, rather than worrying about how unjustly my current employer treats me?
  • Do I deserve something better? (better in this context being a more fulfilling, interesting or productive use of your time)

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘No’ then consider this: would an exceptional organisation recruit someone who was not totally buzzing about their work in the ways mentioned above? Do you think this is the route they took to becoming exceptional?

Probably not. But here is the good news (“Yes, finally! Some good news!” I hear you cry) if you have tried and failed to get in to these companies, and also answered no to one or more of the questions above…

”]Inception-movie-poster… you really have not begun to try yet. Rather you have been setting yourself up for a pretty difficult (if not impossible) task. Namely, you have been trying to convince others that you are something you are not, even though you might not be buying in to what you are saying.Fear not – though you might feel alone, everyone has this to some degree in their work-lives. You are not the first who has been just as lost or worse (see the photo on the left for an example of ‘worse’), so any situation is retrievable.

I’ll be discussing why and how in Part 2 next week. Till then be like the guys in Inception – don’t lose any sleep over it, fresh ideas are on the way.


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