31 Aug It Will NEVER Be Completely Fair…Now, Get Over It
A few months back I had occasion to sit down with a colleague who had grown bitter over the company, their career, and the future in general.
Not uncommon – in fact, it happens everyday in the corporate world.
That point when our dreams collide with reality – I’ve seen it cripple more than a few careers.
I had more than my share of “reality interventions” – especially early in my career when what I saw as the profound unfairness of the job, the company, or my circumstances seemed to overwhelm.
In my book The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career, I talk about the lessons I had to learn the hard way – and the critical importance of the fourth cardinal point – Perspective.
Over the course of the many mergers, acquisitions, and restructures I experienced I came to appreciate that everyone’s measuring stick of what is “fair” differed greatly. Mine certainly did.
More important, I came to appreciate that looking for fairness in the corporate world was like Don Quixote choosing to slay windmills (it’s an old, old story but suffice it to say we all spend a lot of time fighting for causes that are meaningless.)
Your career cannot be based on an assumption of meritocracy. There is no grading scale that ensures we start out at the same point, encounter the same challenges, or will see our final score “adjusted” to assure equitability.
Straight Talk – Folks, it has never been completely fair. It will never be completely fair. Get over it.
Your challenge is the very same as mine was – and is.
What am I going to do to survive and thrive in a world that is anything but fair?
Here are three vital tips that those serious about a significant career learn to embrace:
- Your world has a lot of inequities. It has always been that way. It will always be that way.
- It is your response to those inequities that will define you – and your career.
- Those responses will either focus on what you can do or what your world can do for you. The winners invest a lot more on the former and a lot less on the latter.
A few years back someone shared with me a tenet from the legal profession I’ve borrowed from over the years.
When the truth is on your side you argue the facts.
When the truth is not on your side you argue the law.
I amended that a bit for my career and for the readers of The Compass Solution.
When you own your career you focus on your personal accountability.
When your career owns you – you focus on everything else.
You can win this greatest financial investment of your life.
Like everything else, it’s a matter of the choices you make.