WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS GUY DO? – The science of professional growth demystified.

‘Fake it till you make it’, is a principle largely followed and largely inspiring. But if faking it leads to making it then what are we even working hard for? This phrase is the feeling of when you see someone undeserving move up the ranks and get better opportunities than better potential candidates.

Still didn’t catch the drift? Keep reading.
Take this scenario:

Meet A.

We’ve all come across that one employee who does nothing but complain about how much work they have but you’ve never seen them really work.

Well, hello B!

How about the kind of employee who is a pain in the ass and is universally disliked and is not particularly good at their work. You know the kind who would nicely ask for your help and assign some additional work on you while never offering help when you need it.

Nice to C you, C!

Or maybe that company veteran who has been around the company right after the dinosaurs went extinct. You’re not really sure of what they do. Every one greets them with respect. And you keep hearing rumours of how they get paid a lot or very little or that they’re indebted to management, and so on.

Here’s some D-tail on D!

Employee D is someone everyone wishes to be. Because you feel you can present yourself better if you were equipped the way they are. Words like talent, potential, brilliant, creative are bounced off in reference to these Ds but are consistently followed with ifs and buts.

In the longer run…

Employee A is perceived to be a multi-tasker, hard worker, becomes a crown jewel of the company while you realise they do the same amount of work as you.

Employee B is promoted to a key position during a dark phase where pretty much everyone trustworthy has quit or about to. Not because they’re good workers. But because they can get work done, making them good taskmasters.

Employee C probably has a couple of new rumours around them while they’re out on vacation utilising their stacked up paid leaves.

Employee D’s are seen struggling around dead-ends, are considered to be wasting away. They cause a bit of surprise when they maintain nonchalance around being overlooked in terms of opportunities. They are also infamous for putting the D in bad attitude (which one? take your pick!)

Why does this happen?

Employee A knows how to look busy. In a busy environment appearing busy creates a perception of hard work. Hard-workers are always respected regardless of the quality of their work and are appreciated more for their effort.

Employee B realised that impressing the right people is more important than impressing everyone. Decision-makers look forward to putting unpopular, not necessarily liked, crude people in leadership positions as they are less likely to sympathise with their co-employees/subordinates and bring their problems up to management.

Employee C, just like their peers has absolutely no idea what they contribute to the company and why they’re still around. They’re just happy to be there. And companies are happy to keep them around as their continued presence adds to the legacy of the company and creates an appearance of loyalty.

Employee D, well, they might as well be called employee DGAF. They’re the kind who would choose money over opportunities every single time. They have all their good abilities over-shadowed by their lack of discipline. And are eventually considered as could’ve-beens or has-beens.

Thanks for reminding me of my shitty colleagues bro. So what’s the takeaway?

The takeaway here is to be vocal about your contributions. Unexaggerated, of course but also unapologetic. Put in a little effort in how you want to be perceived. Because putting in the hours matters but staying under the radar makes you like any other employee. As much as companies claim about cultures and harmony and a common-family-like bond where everyone’s equal; they shut down your growth because they don’t see IT in you. You know. IT. The mythical quality that makes you a unique snowflake in the eyes of people who’ve previously struggled like you in the pursuit of the IT within when they were employees. IT‘s a vicious circle.

When push comes to shove… the fakers, more or less, will get exposed. But the talkers will lead the way, ’cause hey! It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.

So you can choose if you want to fake IT till you make IT, Fake IT till you become IT, just be happy to be there, or become employee D(GAF).

Next time you wonder how a certain colleague has got to where they have. Just decide which alphabet matches their personality. Also remember, you might already be alphabetised in someone else’s eyes.

Any of your colleagues fit in any of these? Do let me know in the comments section. Cheers! ~ SDR


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