The workplace is no Kentucky Derby

139th Kentucky DerbyThe 139th Kentucky Derby will be held today at Churchill Downs and a sizable chunk of the world will be watching as this 2-minute long race crowns a champion. So much build up and hype surround this one race…these two short minutes, that it pulls in people who have nothing to do with the sport. The favorite is Orb by odds of 7-2, which means something to people who care about betting.

Not a bettor, I’m more of a hat and dress person and the pageantry is fun to watch.

Rat race not a horse race

When I think of the Kentucky Derby and remarkable excitement that goes into something so brief and fleeting, it makes me think of the workplace, where we slog it out every day and there are few moments that seem like victories. There are no crowds and there are no wreathes of flowers when we do things the right way. Far more sustained effort gets far less attention.

Instead, we have work and stress that seem to come at us non-stop. Finish something, done well, and you’ll just get something else to do. The more you do, the more you’ll be asked to do. It’s a rat race, not a horse race.

Work horse not a race horse

014The truth is that the workplace doesn’t reward thoroughbreds…it rewards clydesdales and I’m OK with that. For those who don’t know horses, clydesdales are work horses that most people know from the Budweiser ads. Personally, I’d rather be a clydesdale. The image of the noble workhorse, kept focused and looking ahead by blinders, working as a team, and well-matched in their harnesses is what makes me excited to go to work.

Keep in mind that clydesdales aren’t recognized as an individual horse but instead as a team, getting the job done in a way that no solo horse could achieve. I’ll bet that at the end of the day, the life of a clydesdale is far better than the life of a thoroughbred. One look at each breed and it’s clear to see which one is reliable.

Keep your race horses and your flowery wreathes. I’d rather be right where I am, pulling the load, getting things done, and being part of a team’s mission, not a pageant celebrating just the fastest horse.

Ah, just as I was getting set to finish the piece, Orb was announced as the winner of this year’s race.

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Categories: Inspiration, Workplace Reality

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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