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Chuck was the best of the twenty-four candidates. Still, he didn't have exactly what I was looking for and my instincts warned me of his unusual personality. Yet the skills required for the job were specialized and he had most of them, and I'd been interviewing for five months, and my boss wanted the position filled before the budget process started. No, he might not be perfect, but he would be ok.
So I hired Chuck. As a new manager, it was a decision I came to regret. Chuck turned out to be a marginal performer, never grew into the job, and drew frequent complaints from his teammates. It might have taken me five months to hire Chuck, but it took me eighteen to fire him. Still, I'm grateful for the experience. Chuck taught me a lesson I applied in my next twenty years in management: don't settle.
When you settle, you choose mediocrity. Don't settle for the best of the worst. Keep looking. Don't settle for something that's barely okay. Push to make it better. Don't settle for average work from others when exceptional is needed. And don't settle for delivering good when you're capable of better. Expect more from yourself. Then expect more from others.
Whenever I've settled, the work or decision comes back like a boomerang, reminding me to keep my standards high. As W. Somerset Maugham says, "It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." I know that's been my experience.
There's a story I like about Phidias, a Greek sculptor working on the Acropolis. As he was finishing a statue of Athena, which would stand a hundred feet high next to a marble wall, an onlooker asked, "Why are you chiseling strands of hair on the back of her head where no one will see them or even know they're there? "I'll know," replied Phidias.
I wish I would have found a cabinet maker with that same attitude when we were building our home. When we moved in, we discovered tops of cabinets uncapped and unstained. It's true no one would see them. But, it was not the quality of work we expected, paid for or wanted. The cabinet maker had settled for mediocre. But we didn't. We had him do them over.
People who are winning at working know when good is not good enough. They operate like Phidais, not our cabinet maker. They understand that quality work is not an accident. It's a deliberate focus that starts with high personal standards. People who are winning at working don't settle for mediocre. Not in others. And not in themselves.
(c) 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and instructor. Visit http://www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at email@example.com.
The Career Athlete: What It Takes to Manage Your Career
Managing your career, just like managing your life, requires preparation and ensuring that your time is directed meaningfully. Don't wait and see; make things happen. Just like athletes who prepare for the "big game" or a marathon, designing your career requires goals, planning, work, and above all, commitment. Think of yourself as a Career Athlete.
50 Things To Do To Your Boss That Are Fun For You, But Not For Them
1. You're eavesdropping and you hear your boss has reservations at his favorite restaurant. You know, the one you can't afford. Call them back and cancel his reservations ? say you're his wife.
5 Resume Mistakes Telecommuters Often Make
Finding a legit telecommute job can be difficult. Telecommute jobs are in high demand and hundreds if not thousands of other people are competing for the same position.
Defining Success Your Way!
In my career advising practice, I often find that my clients are not clear about what success means for them. Our society defines success primarily around three elements: power, money and fame. Many of you reading this may be saying, "wait a minute ?those elements are not the most important things to me." Success is often intangible. It's certainly unique to each person. Have you considered how you will know when you are successful?
How Much Can You Earn Working As A Proofreader?
Thinking of a career as a proofreader? Then you will most likely want to know about salaries. Are you hoping to hear that you will make thousands and thousands of dollars a month in this field? It is very possible that you will barely make a few hundred when you are first starting out. There is no guarantee of a paycheck in this field. If you do not provide quality work, you probably will not have many clients returning for repeat work. Proofreading as a career is hard, but when you get in the door, you may do fairly well. Proof reader salaries are not glamorous, but they can be fairly good.
How to Deal With Workplace Inflexibility
You've been a model employee: responsible, industrious, creative and productive. You've gone the extra mile time and again, with a smile.
4 Tips for Making Successful Job Offers
The interviews are completed, the paperwork is all filled out for Human Resources, and you have decided that this is the right candidate for the job. Now comes the formal job offer. Here are four tips to increase the success rate of your job offers:
Targeting Your Resume is So Important For Your Career
Targeting your portfolio, (resume and cover letter) can get you any job you desire! The purpose of targeting is so you can find your perfect match, your dream job!
Phone Interviews: Prepare to Ace Them!
More companies are saving time and effort by doing initial telephone interviews before committing themselves to hours of time assessing and evaluating applicants. They are doing this because, frankly, it's a good way to save a team's time from interviewing obviously unqualified people. From your standpoint, this means that you need to develop an additional interview skill.
Dissatisfied with Your Job? Take Your Power Back!
Apparently, there are all sorts of reasons to be dissatisfied with your job...
How To Receive Payment as a Freelance Translator?
A problem most freelance translators are facing with is how to receive payment. In particular: How to receive payment for small jobs. Many translation agencies are reluctant to pay small fees via wire transfer due to the transaction fees; often they will send you a check instead. And I suppose I don't have to tell you: The banks charge an enormous commission when you come and want to cash in your check.
Free Resume Template: Beware!
Downloading a free resume template can be so alluring. No work to do! You just download it, fill in the blanks, and get the job of your dreams!
What is Absolutely the Best Day to go on a Job Interview?
First of all, to fully understand and appreciate the answer, a couple of givens must be taken into account. What I believe to be the most important item for dealing with an interview successfully is, your attitude. Your attitude determines the outcome of every interview. The core competencies must be there in order for you to get the interview in the first place but, your attitude during the interview will be what ultimately gets you accepted or rejected for the position. If it was as simple as, "I can do the job", there would be no need for an interview in the first place - the employer would just hire based upon the resume.
Searching for an Executive Job
A job search for executives is far less complicated today than it has been in the past. Anyone who is looking for an executive job can simply look to the Internet where there are hundreds of employment websites, with many specifically geared towards executives. These websites offer individuals the opportunity to network with other executives in order to share ideas, offer communication about opportunities and support that can be useful during a job search.
Tips for Building a Successful Career
1. Develop excellent work habits ? for example, meet deadlines and don't procrastinate.
How to Be Prepared for a Layoff
If you are concerned that your company might be planning a layoff, your best course of action is to be prepared. Employees often see warning signs that their jobs may be at risk. Such signs could include poor company performance, earlier rounds of layoffs, conflicts with their manager, increased manager intervention and involvement, and poor performance reviews. Employees see the signs, but aren't as proactive as they should be in looking out for their future. Here are steps you can take to be prepared for a layoff.
Lost Your Job? Ten Ways to Bounce Back!
Whether you've been right-sized, downsized, underutilized, or just plain fired, looking for work is a life-changing experience that rocks your world. Regain your equilibrium with these ten strategies and get back to being your best.
Unemployment Survival: Taking Back Control
One of the most emotionally crippling aspects of unemployment is the sense of powerlessness it engenders. Job layoff triggers financial pressures, emotional distress, family turmoil, and dashed career hopes. It is forced on us by unrelenting fate, an emotionally disengaged employer, and economic currents that have little to do with us personally. We feel that we have no control over our situation, our lives, our future.
The Top 10 Ways to Manage Your Career
Many people in the last decade have experienced either a layoff or termination in their lives or the lives of somebody they know. While many of these people affected have experienced outplacement-consulting services, some have not and they may be in for a rude awakening - corporations no longer "take care of you". Managing your career in these times require you to have a game plan and an understanding of yourself and human behavior. That is why outplacement consulting and career coaches have become so popular and are being sought out by individuals, not just corporations. A career coach can help you manage more than just your career, they can help you communicate better and get along with others better.
7 Steps to Interviews that Win the Job
These days, interviews don't come easily. When you get The Call, make the most of your time -- and go for it!
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