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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Biggest Professional Frustration?

It's approaching year-end, which means the dreaded "Year End Performance Appraisal (a.k.a. PA)" season.  Yes, people who work in HR probably hate them more than anyone else.  More on that in a future posting.  Anyway, the PA season makes me think more than usual about my professional life.  One thing that sticks out?  Well it's the (professional) thing that frustrates me the most, namely the importance placed on self-promotion in the hyper-competitive business world.   Oh, and I stink at self-promotion.

Am I feigning modesty?  No.  Look, I have absolutely no problem listing a multitude of personal faults, Hell, any number of my postings could be turned into a "Steve bashing Steve drinking game", so if faking modesty was one of them, I'd readily and repeatedly cop to it.  I simply grew up in an environment where boasting wasn't exactly encouraged.

Am I actually pretty modest?  Yes.  It's an odd kind of thing though.  Ms Rivers will tell you that I don't like being stared at, yet I do a fair amount of "in front of the audience" kind of stuff professionally.  The difference is, I suspect, the fact that while I am in front of a audience speaking, I am controlling what's going on.  No such control exists when I'm randomly being looked at, and that's difficult for me to handle.

I'll also readily admit that there are a few things professionally that I do well.  Some things very well.  As I mentioned to my manager once, "I can't figure out whether I am some kind of evil genius or idiot savant".  Maybe I'm both.  It's as if my professional life could very well be one giant scene from the brilliant Peter Sellers movie Being There.

One thing I do well is thinking about things in ways that are different than most folks.  Therein lies part of the paradox for me, namely that I could say something incredibly profound...or stupid...and it could very well be that both are equally true.

Anyway, lacking in self-promotion skills knowingly puts me at a disadvantage professionally.  Like it or not, the corporate world is about competition, be it for customers, ROI, promotions, raises, "air time" in staff meetings, recognition or money.  For this I am poorly equipped, at best.  For the record I will note that I also find it repugnant when others go overboard promoting themselves.

What do to?  Mostly nothing.  Seriously, mostly nothing.  By and large I'm not going to hoist the flag of better promoting myself as a development objective for 2016.  I know me, and I am comfortable with me, even with the knowledge that my lack of skills in this particular area puts me at a distinct disadvantage.  I don't want to be that person with the enormous ego who is constantly trying to top everyone else, also known as a "Topper"...

(from THIS page)

If the worst that some can say about (the professional) me is that "he's pretty modest" then that will be okay.

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