How Everyone Can Be Extraordinary at Work

When I first started out in the workforce, I was frustrated with poorly performing co-workers.  I somehow imagined that if they did poorly at the job they were in, that they would do poorly in every job they took on.  As I got older, I began to understand the pressures that combine to make an unsuccessful employee: toxic work cultures, unclear job definition and unsupportive managers. Also crucial: the fundamental fit between the person and the job.

Tom Bergerson, host of Dancing with the Stars, illustrated this well in his autobiography “I’m Hosting as Fast as I Can!”  He spoke about an early job he took with a Boston company:

“They made flexible tubing. And, for three whole months, I was one of their customer-service representatives. However, as it turned out, I was to customer service what the Hindenburg was to air travel.

The company no longer exists.  I blame myself.

It wasn’t intentional. It’s not like I didn’t try. I liked these people.  I was grateful to be working again and paying down my debts.  I was just really, really bad at it.  I had the engaging-phone-skills pat down pat.  If you were looking for flexible tubing and I answered your call, my tone suggesting bedrock dependability.  That is, until I lost your paperwork.”

Bergeron went on to find immense success hosting Hollywood Squares, America’s Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars.  He’s an outstanding emcee: witty, in-the-moment and demonstrates genuine care and concern for his guests.  He also doesn’t have any paperwork in this job.  His whole job is done when the camera turns off.  It is the perfect role for him.

Finding the perfect role means understanding yourself: what you love to do, what you’re good at and also how others perceive you. Once you’re able to articulate it, people are able to make concrete suggestions and connections for you. It’s a journey—the right spot for you at age 30 is not going to be the right spot for you at 40. Embrace the changing needs and goals in your life!

I believe that everyone can be extraordinary at work.  But they have to be in the right role, with the right leaders and in the right company for them.

This article was first published at www.extraordinaryatwork.com

 

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Olivia Shen Green

Olivia Shen Green is an Operations Manager in Engineering Talent and Culture at Fortune 100 organization. Her passion for leading fast-paced, inclusive change has been employed leading acquisition integration internationally and releasing NPI programs in the core and edge routing space. Her blog is Extraordinary at Work. Olivia often tweets about technology, design and finding happiness in everyday things. Follow her on Twitter at @osgOlivia.

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