Getting the Gig You Want

All eyes are on this post. We start looking at what we want out of life and suddenly the gig we have is not the gig we want. The beauty of getting older is wisdom. The part about getting older is that we typically accumulate bills and responsibilities. That accumulation typically directs the type of gig we want versus the altruistic aspirations of “what do I want to do when I grow up?”.
I’ve Studied This
In more than one way I’ve been fascinated by the reasons people have jobs they don’t want. I have studied performance for employers who were trying to figure out why production was not as expected. Through many scientific methods, the bottom line is this – people are taking jobs to meet their financial needs, and not necessarily to feed their goals in life.
There is a tremendous disconnect in jobs – employers hire because they want the person to produce to the best of their ability. Employees take the job because they want the employer to never be late on their pay schedule! Who wins in this instance? Well both lose. Initially, the employee wins because they receive their paycheck on time all the time. Eventually however with underperforming departments and staff, the company must cut staff, and the employee loses big time. This is a vicious cycle that plays out all across America and it is the silent killer of businesses.
Employers Hire For Heart, Employees Take Jobs for Checks
This is the ultimate set up if you’re the employer. Wanting an employee to care about their performance and where it fits into the bigger picture, but hiring people who could care less. I conducted a survey last year among Fortune 100 companies to compare mid-level managers expectations to their supervisors expectations. Three responses stood out the most
#1 The employee admitted they say what needs to be said to keep their job even if it contradicts what they feel
#2 The employee admitted they actively seek new employment within the organization or with competitors to upgrade their paycheck and role
#3 The employer admitted they do not track talent with accuracy to back fill future talent leaks
Houston we have a problem. Part of this dilemma is the generational differences and perspective on jobs. Of the most notable differences in employee versus employer expectations, the gap widened as the employee got younger and the company was older. Time is forcing this problem into mainstream conversation.
Practice versus Practical
One of the greatest debates in Human Resources departments across America is functioning by practice (i.e. this is what we’ve always done), versus functioning by practical – the acts that meet the needs you’re facing. As I grew in my education and understanding of the practice of HRD (Human Resources Development), HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems), and HRM (Human Resources Management) I realized the disconnect facing departments. By virtue of earning promotions in trusted positions, HR departments often are comprised of staff who function by practice. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it means that HR departments who are probably staffed with AMAZING talent, are functioning in the way they’ve always functioned, versus meeting today’s and tomorrow’s needs.
Why is this important? It’s important for you to know that getting the gig you want requires you to go through gatekeepers who many be functioning in the “old way” of HR. Hard to talk innovation in an interview with someone who is functioning as an HR assembly line worker. How do you get that dream job?
Don’t be afraid to create it.
The reason you dream about a job is because in reality it doesn’t exist! Sometimes you have to develop new departments or roles within your company to meet your ultimate job goals. And sometimes, you have to create the whole company! It’s all up to you. I will tell you not to waste your time and energy trying to fit your aspirational square peg into the traditional employment round hole. Let me say this again:
Don’t be afraid to create it.
That means every moment you have outside of the Assembly line tasks that you do on a daily basis you not only dream, you execute toward the dream. You have to know that you will be speaking a different language from most around you – you’ll be speaking the future into existence! Don’t take offense when others knock down your idea, or fail to help you. They’re still speaking the assembly line language that feeds their assembly line reality. And don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with creating an assembly line. The problem is when there is no process for improvement. There’s the failure – when the process does not include improvement, then it will not include the aspirations of employees.
I would encourage you not to waste your time and energy complaining about being in a dead-end job or role. Change it! Change where you are in your company or with another company. The goal is to feed your dreams, and if you don’t feed the dream first, no one and I repeat no one will lead you to that better place in life. If you want it, go after it. If you want change, pursue that change.
The gig you want is there for you. It’s up to you to be there for the new gig.

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