Success today takes something more than doing your job. As TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadivé puts it in You Can Get Fired for Doing Your Job Well, “Just doing your job gets you a C+.” That may seem harsh, but success requires knowledge of more of the business, more of the technology…more ‘things’ in general. Employers know it, too. I’m convinced the reason so few employers are restocking their workforce as business comes back is their expectation that technology creates greater productivity and fewer workers are capable of so much more. They’re right.
Kevin Jordan this past weekend wrote a piece that sums this up well…that we need to be renaissance men and women, aware of so many parts of the business, so many disciplines, that we’re ready to create value no matter how much work changes. We can contribute far more than our defined role.
Your job is what you make it
What can we do if we’ve never been in that pattern? Like so many other things, there have never been more opportunities. Coursera, Code Academy, code.org, and other resources allow us to never stop learning without having to return to a formal school. Those who continue to stretch the boundaries will bring far more to the collaborative work environment and will be more appreciated (and promoted and compensated).
Yahoo! decided their employees must report to the office and by doing so, killed the kind of flexibility that the best employees demand and pushes away the kind of employees that are most likely to be renaissance men and women. They may get a near-term lift but in the long run, they’re killing off the kind of worker that can make a real difference. They’re missing the point that those who get more can be asked to give more, too.
While this could be scary for some, pushing yourself to constantly grow in the job you have is also future-proofing yourself for whatever might come. It certainly keeps things interesting.