Demonstrate Promotability to Move Out of the Joe Job In the last post, we discussed being in a joe job—that is, being underemployed where you are not able to use the full range of your skills and abilities. However, one of the best ways out is to demonstrate your promotability.  Doing that can get you a reference from this job which sets you up for the one you really want. The descriptors you want your supervisor to use in a reference are: Ent...

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help! You’re a salesclerk when you should be in the marketing department. Doing background research rather than writing the strategy. Being an assistant rather than a paralegal. Whatever it is, you’re in a job which not only doesn’t tax your skills but is downright boring.  You are underemployed. You’d like to contribute at a higher level (with more money, of course). Unfortunately, early jobs in the...

Bringing Yourself to Work If you are just starting out in your career, this phrase might not mean much to you. Of course you bring yourself to work. What else could you do? However, if you’ve worked for any length of time, it might have meaning. The longer you are employed, the more you come to realize that you can’t necessarily do at work what you might do in your personal life. The pressures of work Work requires a number of adjustments...

Going for Broke Saying ‘no’ when Larry asked you to join a clandestine project was fraught with land mines, as you saw.  Is the answer to go for broke and say ‘yes’? The pros and cons If you put together a pros and cons list, it might look like this: Pros of going for broke Cons of going for broke The project could be great career move. You’re violating your employment contract. Lots of people get to the top by breaking the rules. If y...

Keeping Others’ Secret In a previous post, Larry asked you to test a game he and others were developing on the side. In the last post, you contemplated saying ‘no’ and, moreover, telling your boss Malcolm what was happening. Doing so wouldn’t turn out well for anyone. So maybe the best bet is to say ‘no’ but keep it secret from Malcolm. You say no. Things go back to normal? That’s what you’d expect, right? You’ve said no politel...

Doing the ‘Right’ Thing

Doing the ‘Right’ Thing In the last post, you have a new job as a tester for children’s on-line games. Larry, the senior designer and a fun guy, has asked you to work on a serious game without your boss’ knowledge. What is the right thing to do? What should you do? Obviously, if this were above board, you’d jump at the chance to work on a real game. But it clearly isn’t. You know what you should do. A good employee would not...

The Big Career Chance

The Big Career Chance The career situation You have a new job as a tester for children’s on-line games.  Two weeks in, it seems like a pretty good place, with a lot of career opportunities. The obvious leader is Larry, the senior designer. You haven’t quite made it in with the pack but you’re hopeful. Testing Pen is a programmer. You’re reviewing the bugs you’ve found with her. Pen: Gosh, that’s a strange one. You: Yeah, an...

Should You Fight the Status Quo? Usually No.

Should You Fight the Status Quo? Usually No. Since groupthink tends to support the status quo and is relatively unfriendly to innovation, isn’t it your duty as an employee of the company to fight it? Certainly, companies need innovation, even if they’re not very good at it (see my book: Creating the Innovation Culture). You can count on the fingers of one hand CEOs who say, “No, no—new thinking is not welcome here.” So compani...

Can You Prevent Group Conformity? Maybe.

Can You Prevent Group Conformity? Maybe. Groupthink is a powerful but unseen force in organizations. In our example, you were wise to consider how you would be perceived by the group and it probably didn’t matter that you went along with the majority. But what if the outcome had been really important? Or if you were sure you had the right answer? How could you discourage conformity to open up the discussion? Below are ways to handle t...

How Groupthink Can Get You

How Groupthink Can Get You In the last post, you wanted to generate out-of-the-box ideas but were shot down. You left the meeting feeling vaguely bad, perhaps because your idea never got off the ground. Perhaps, but a much more powerful force had probably doomed your idea from the start: Groupthink. What is groupthink? Groupthink is the tendency of a group to hold the same opinions and views. Sometimes that’s good. For something strai...