Over the weekend I was speaking with an acquaintance who???s been in the marketing and communications line for some years now, and who is making a move into a more administrative role. The scope of his role at the new company, was somewhat bigger than initially presented and the breadth was beginning to stress him out.
???I???m being asked to do things beyond my areas of experience and I am asked for my opinion, on things I believe they should already have the answers too. Sometimes, I wonder why the obvious questions. For example, the people in our office are given the liberty of maintaining a flexible work schedule but the results, the productivity is just not there. My manager is asking me what we should do but I feel that he should already see what needs to be done. I don???t want to overstep my boundaries here and cannot really tell whether these questions are designed to truly elicit some feedback or to test me. What should I do????
I think every situation is a test. Even if it???s not a test by someone else of you, it???s a test of you. It can be very stressful in life to feel that everything is a test, that life is simply a series of hurdles to get through. Pass or fail. But the thing is a matter of perspective. Many of us get into these types of situations and we have a bell curve on the sorts of responses people present. The great majority do nothing. They stick to the straight and narrow, they do as they???re told, they colour within the box. Some do much less and we know what happens to them. But there???s a number of people who decide to colour outside the box. They make decisions swiftly. They don???t sit and ponder for a long time, eventually making no decision at all. Life is after all a series of choices, whether we make them actively or not. While the sheer number of choices may be dizzyingly high, we do subconsciously concentrate on the important choices, don???t we?
The go-getters see and seize the opportunity. The situation above is a chance to shine. Step outside the narrow confines of the role you???ve been presented with and step up to the challenges posed by your manager.
Is he testing you? Maybe. Does he want your opinion for real? Maybe. You never really know for sure. But what you know is that you can do one of two things. Ignore all of this and carry on as per ???normal??? or do something different. Take a chance, plunge in and make a statement. Share your opinion, offer suggestions as to how things could be improved on, assess the situation and take on more responsibilities and be a driver of improvement. There???s nothing to lose in holding on to what???s there on the dotted line. Well, eventually, there may be actually. But there???s nothing to lose in taking that chance either. Sure, you may fail. But you???d fail in this one episode, and not in terms of the entire experience. And this failure can be carried forward into future endeavours.
Is the risk of failing so great that it would be better to sit quiet and do nothing at all? Perhaps, but then I guess you will have to happily accept that there are thousands upon thousands who would probably feel the same way and therefore, react in the same way. And you are in a sea of sameness. How then do you stand out, move jobs or get a raise? How then do you make a difference? How then can you expect anyone to believe or see that you might be different from the next person?