The Single Biggest Truth in Hiring That No One Will Admit!

I’ve had my mind changed about a lot of things over the past decade of writing. I look back at posts I wrote 5 years ago, and think, “Wow, that was a stupid way of thinking!” I’ve also consistently written about things that I can’t prove, but I know to be true with every ounce of my being.

So, every time I find data that confirms my bias, I like to share it! It makes me think I’m still correct in my viewpoints!

The more attractive you are, the more opportunity you’ll get in your job choice and career! 

Think it isn’t true? Here’s the latest study from 2021, from three PhDs in Economics from Cal and the London School of Economics,  “Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics?” Want the short answer? Yes! Of course, don’t be stupid!

“Using unique data on Ph.D. graduates from top economics departments in the United States we test whether more attractive individuals are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that appearance matters for job outcomes. Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher-ranked Ph.D. institutions, are more likely to find themselves in private sector jobs than in government jobs or in academia. Within academia, attractive Ph.D. graduates are more likely to be placed at higher ranking institutions. More surprisingly, appearance also predicts research productivity on the job.”

What did the study find?

  1. The more attractive you are, the better schools you’ll get into.
  2. The more attractive you are, the better jobs you’ll get.
  3. The more attractive you are, the better you’ll actually perform!

Now, come on. I get pretty people will get into better schools and get better jobs, but why in the hell do pretty people actually perform better!?! This has to be a flawed study, right!

“Pretty Privilege” is alive and well, at least in the United States, where this study took place. Maybe in other countries, like Canada, ugly people still have a chance. But, I’m doubting it. (Also, shout-out to Maria Alvarez for the “Pretty Privilege” title!)

Can people really have “Pretty Privilege”?  (FYI – the title of my upcoming autobiography is, “Of Course I Have Pretty Privilege, Just Look at Me!”)

So, I’ve laid out my theory of this before, but how soon people forget. So, here it is again:

Step 1: Pretty person gets a great job. Is Successful.

Step 2: Success and Good Lucks, get you a great choice of Mates.

Step 3: Pretty, Successful people get married and procreate.

Step 4: Pretty kids get into the best schools.

Step 5: The cycle repeats.

So, yes, of course, there is pretty privilege. So much so, we pretty people actually talk about it behind the Uggs backs! There are only two privileges stronger than Pretty, being white and being rich! If you have the trifecta-privilege, well, you’re basically unstoppable.

Now, some will want to argue. “Tim, attractiveness is in the eyes of the beholder!” This is usually said by a person who is a six, or lower, on a scale of 1 (troll) to 10 (goddess). To which I could lay out countless studies on attractiveness and call bullshit, but hey, you’re not very attractive, thus, not really my competition, so believe whatever you want, I’m 2/3 of the way to the trifecta!

So, if you have never read my stuff and this is the first time, and you’re ugly, right about now, you’re pissed! So, let me say, the paragraph before is half-joking, I’m 3 for 3, baby! 😉

What can you do if you’re not Pretty? 

First, if you’re asking yourself this question, I’m sorry, you should have more confidence, high confidence is super pretty! But, I get it. We all can’t be the belle of the ball.

If you don’t have Pretty Privilege, you need to do some other stuff extraordinary well. Be way smarter. Grind and Hustle way harder. Network way better. You must outwork the Pretty People. Invest a lot in your outward appearance. You might not be super attractive, but you can definitely be prettier than a lot of other folks! Be the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs, is all I’m saying.

Let’s break it down.

You and the people at your company responsible for hiring aren’t always hiring the best candidate. Mostly, they hire the candidate who can do the job, which also happens to be the best looking of the candidates they interviewed. All things being equal, hire pretty, is the strategy. I’m not saying it’s the best strategy, I’m just saying it’s the strategy most organizations follow, but would never admit to.

We see this in organizations all the time. You walk into an organization and you start to go, wait, I think there’s a problem, everyone here is way too good looking! Almost always, those organizations are super successful as well. Back in the day, the c-suite would call this “image”. We are upholding an “image” of the firm. What they were really saying was, you need to be prettier to hang with us!

So, keep ignoring Pretty Privilege if you want. It’s alive and well and most likely determining your next hire.

 

 

 

Do you know what you really want in your career?

About 15 years ago I came home one day and said to my wife, “I can’t do this anymore”. It doesn’t matter what I was doing, I just couldn’t do that anymore. I knew it. Something had to change.

Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying, “people don’t know what they want until you show them”, I think Henry Ford said something similar about one hundred years before Jobs. Both were talking about consumers, but in reality, it fits people in almost every aspect of life.

I find it really rings true for people in their careers. We think we know what we want. “I want to be a vice president by the time I’m 35”, I told my wife when I was 25 years old. I thought I knew what I wanted in my career. In reality, I was just title chasing.

I became a vice president and I found out I felt no difference in my career, and I definitely didn’t feel satisfied. So, a title was not what I truly wanted. What I discovered was I wanted to be in control. Success or failure, I wanted that on my shoulders. It didn’t matter what I was actually doing in my career, I needed control.

How many of your employees truly know what they want in life? 

As a leader, I find probably only about ten percent of those who you support will truly have an idea about what they want out of a career. The other ninety percent, are just like me, they think they know, but they really don’t until they’ve reached whatever goal they’ve set for themselves, then they’ll find out if they actually had any clue, or they were just guessing.

If we start with most employees have no idea what they want in their career, or at best they have an idea, but it’ll be wrong, it’s now up to leaders to help shape this path. It might be the only real thing we can do for those we supervise as leaders are to help guide them on their career path.

Employees don’t know what they want in a career until you show them. 

If you believe this is your job as a leader to show those you work with what their career can be, this really helps to crystallize what you do each day.

What I know from my experience is the best people I ever worked for had a vision and path they wanted for their career. That path was usually developed and born from a mentor or boss that took the time to care about this person enough to show them what their career could be.

I can point to four different leaders and mentors in my life who helped shape my path, and by the way, all said I was an idiot for my obsession with a title. I was too young to listen, and thankfully they were too smart to give up on me.

It’s your job as a leader to show your people what they want. Don’t ever assume that your people already know what they want, most don’t. They won’t admit this because admitting it makes you sound like a moron, but it shouldn’t stop you as a leader from showing them the possibilities.

What I find is the more you show them the path, the more they’ll gravitate towards it and raise their performance to meet it.

Ultimately, I find people want two things: 

  1. They want to be and feel successful in what they are doing.
  2. They want to feel wanted.

The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work-spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

Buy Game Stop! No wait, get back to work!

Everyone is talking about Game Stop and AMC and a bunch of other companies that no one should really be talking about! Why? Because a bunch of remote workers are sitting at home, not working, and playing around on Reddit and their Robinhood brokerage accounts!

Yeah, I said it!

You have employees you’re paying to work remotely who are messing around thinking they’re day traders by buying crappy stocks off Reddit suggestions. Also, they think they’re sticking it to the “man” by doing this, so in their mind, they’re really saving the world. All while you’re paying them to sell more Saas software…

This is why Remote Work doesn’t work! 

Everyone loves Remote Work. Why wouldn’t you. You get paid to do the same work in half the time, and you get to do it sitting on your couch with Netflix running in the background and you’re still wearing the same stretchy pants you woke up in! God Bless America! Am I right!?

Remote Work fails when leaders feel like even one person is taking advantage of the system!

Look I get it, I get that Timmy is sitting in his office, at the office, and still not doing anything, but Mary, your CEO, can walk by Timmy’s office and scare him enough into thinking he should probably do some work.

Most organizations suck at having measurable performance indicators for every position, or any positions, besides sales. Most performance measures that employees have, would happen regardless if they actually did their job or traded crappy stocks all day, or ran an Etsy shop out of their cube.

Can’t we all just be adults!? 

Apparently, no.

You don’t want to be micromanaged at work, but the true future of “Remote” work is we are going to micromanage the sh*t out of you! (No, not me, all the other bad folks!) The bigger the company, the better the technology they’ll be able to afford to ensure you’re actually working and not acting like a wannabe revolutionary taking down the stock market by buying bad stocks.

If you have over 500 employees working remotely right now, at least 3% of those people are amateur day trading on your dime. It’s just a numbers game, at this point. Depending on what your business does, you can probably raise or lower that number 1-2%.

“But, Tim! You don’t get it! I work a flexible schedule, so I’m putting in more hours and still being a bad day trader!” No, you’re not. You’re an idiot who is going to cry you got wronged when you get fired because your company found out a part-time seventeen year old can produce more than you, without any formal college education.

Gawd, I actually love being the voice of reason! 

Man! I’m not a life coach, but what I wouldn’t do to punch some stupid 35-year-old dude in the mouth who’s trying to explain to me why Game Stop is a good investment, ‘really’! Turns out, no one needs a brick and mortar store to buy online games! Thanks for the advice, Trevor, how did all those folks at your company respond to that analysis in the company Slack!?

Okay, you don’t have to work forty hours a week, because when you’re home you have fewer distractions and you get your job done in thirty. The question you should really be asking yourself isn’t if America is considering you a hero for buying Game Stop stock, but if you can do that all day and still get your job done, who else is thinking they probably don’t need to be paying you any longer?

I can guarantee you, Game Stop doesn’t care about your job!

Does a $15/hr Minimum Wage Really Help Workers?

There might not be a more controversial topic in 2021! Whether or not we (the United States of America) should raise the minimum wage for all workers, in all states, in all jobs to $15/hr.

I would love to say this is ‘simply’ a political issue, but it’s not. It’s much more complicated than politics. Both sides will point to studies that prove why or why not we should have a minimum wage of $15/hr. The reality is, a $15/hr minimum wage is more of an economic issue than political.

What is the argument, really, for and against a $15/hr minimum wage? 

For $15/hr:

  • People need a living wage. $15/hr for a forty-hour week, roughly puts a person at an income level of $30,000 per year. Which, in theory, would bring that person above the poverty level. Let’s be clear, “above poverty level” is still a freaking tough life!
  • Corporations are making record profits on the backs of hourly workers. Hello, Jeff Bezos!
  • Other countries have done this and it’s worked out just fine.

Against $15/hr:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr and above will cost jobs. If you force employers to pay $15/hr as a minimum they’ll hire fewer workers and have them work fewer hours.
  • $15/hr minimum wage is too little for some markets and too much for some markets. We should let market dynamics decide what the minimum should be.
  • Other countries, like Australia, pay a living wage, but have you been to Australia? It’s not the U.S. It’s U.S.-like, but when you go to a “bar and grill” in Australia you don’t get waited on. You go to the bar, order your food, and they yell your name when it’s done. Need extra ketchup? Go to the bar, wait in line, and hope you can get the one bartender to get it for you. Why? Because wait staff costs too much, so they use them. Things are different. So, yeah, “waitstaff” in Australia gets paid a living wage, but those places just don’t hire very many.

What does the research really say? 

Here is where the rubber meets the road because we can always find a study that will back up whatever point we might have. I’m for an increase in the minimum wage, or I’m against it, I can share with you five studies each supporting my take. Ugh! So, what is it really?

I found a study that looked at all the minimum wage studies (not some dumb Forbes article, real academic research), both for and against, to break down the facts and the myths. Here’s what they found:

  • There is a clear preponderance of negative effects on employment when raising the minimum wage.
  • The evidence is stronger for teens, young adults, and less-educated.
  • The evidence around specific industries is less one-sided.

What does all of that mean? 

First, while you will find studies saying that minimum wage does not impact jobs, there is way more academic and economic literature supporting the other side. Also, the evidence shows a strong effect on younger workers and lower educated, so there might be some room to talk about family or adult minimum wage standards verse just the standard one-size-fits-all. There is also a need to look at minimum wage by industry, again not just across the board.

An example might be, manufacturing sectors can pay $15/hr but service level restaurant jobs can not. Or, $15/hr makes sense in New York City, but not in Winona, MN. Maybe it could be looked at via high margin industries verse low margin industries.

What is clear, from the evidence, is that a straight $15/hr minimum wage, for all people, for the entire country, is not the best remedy for our current dilemma. Most likely, what will happen, if the $15/hr minimum happens is you’ll see organizations adjust accordingly by doing a combination of rising prices, cutting costs, cutting hours, and cutting jobs.

If you believe corporations are just going to “eat” the additional expenses, at the cost of profit, you are at best naive.

What’s my take?

I don’t like the proposal of just across the board we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr across the country. I don’t like it because it won’t do what people think it should do, it’s really just more political posturing. In the end, consumers will pay more (which maybe we should) and corporations will cut to make the same profits. Ultimately, workers will take it on the chin, again.

If politicians truly cared about workers, they would dig in and do a minimum wage by market. It would be way higher than $15/hr in some locations and probably a bit lower in some locations, but there would be more strategy and thought behind it. The federal government does this now with pay bands for federal workers, they should be able to do it for all workers with minimum wage.

To not include market dynamics in compensation policy shows the government doesn’t really care about workers, truly. Because when it comes to taking care of their own, federal government employees, they do take into consideration market dynamics. $15/hr in Los Angles, San Francisco, and New York City is nothing, let’s be real.

Let me hear it in the comments! Are you for or against a $15/hr minimum wage and why? 

There is no such thing as “Too Much Talent”!

There is this common belief that one organization can have “too much” talent and having “too much” talent is most likely not going to turn out well. Okay, this is a commonly held belief amongst sports teams, specifically, basketball. (All non-sport fan HR pros check out…WAIT!)

The concept happens when you have organizations build super teams. The reason we believe it will fail is mostly ego-driven. All of these superstars won’t be able to play together because they all want to be ‘the’ star and for the team to win and play well, you must take on a role. And, that role, might not have you being the star.

The Brooklyn Nets are this year’s version in the NBA of “too much” talent, with superstar players, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the newest addition, James Harden. All three are superstars.

Why do we feel an organization can have too much talent? 

As ‘normal’ people, we have a hard time believing that someone who is great, a superstar, would be willing to share their glory. To take a backseat or play the second chair, for the good of the ‘team’. It is our belief that most people suck, apparently. Or, truthfully, we suck, because we are just projecting our own beliefs!

I like science and some researchers wanted to take a look at this phenomenon of super teams and too much talent. What did they find?

  • Teams benefit, overall, from having more talented team members.
  • The benefit decreases over time, but…
  • More talent is never detrimental to team performance! 

While a great team might start to get less great over time, that is mostly due to a lot of non-talent factors. Could be the age of athletes, less motivated to succeed, etc. But, still, the team is more successful, with the talent, than before.

How can we use this knowledge in normal, non-sport organizations? 

First, we need to understand that all hiring managers are a bit hesitant to hire someone they feel is more talented than themselves. This is human nature, we all have this trait at some level. We want to protect the job we have, hiring someone great, no matter what we tell ourselves, we feel puts our own job at risk. This is normal, not a weakness.

The way around this is that everyone has to come together and acknowledge we all have this weakness. “Hey folks, we need to hire people better than ourselves if we want to become a super team. That said, we need to hold each other accountable to that end”

Second, we need to be able to measure “better”. What is better than you or me? How can I measure that in a candidate? That is truly an impossible task, for most professions and positions. At the very least, you must be able to look yourself in the mirror and ask the question, “Is this person better than me, or given the chance, could they become better than me and a decent time period?” “Can I help this person be better than me because they have some core skill sets I don’t have?”

Every CEO I’ve ever met wanted to hire better people for their company. Only a handful had the self-insight needed to truly hire better people. The first step to hiring better people is realizing you might not be the best! That’s hard for some executives to comprehend and admit. In fact, it’s hard for almost everyone to comprehend and admit!

You can not have too much talent on your team. You can not have too much talent on your team. You can not have too much talent on your team. You can have too many talented people who are assholes. That is something entirely different!

2021-2022 HR Trend – Teaching Sales People to Get Back on the Road!

“Yeah, I can get as much, or more, done right from my living room as I did before the pandemic!” (said in the snotty tone of a spoiled brat kid, maybe a slight valley girl vibe) “Like, there is absolutely no need to go visit clients and potential clients in person!”

I don’t know much, but here’s what I do know:

Pre-Pandemic:

  • Next to impossible to hire good salespeople.
  • A constant struggle to get average salespeople to get on the road and meet with potential clients. (Why do we need to meet with people in person when we have email and Inmail?)
  • Overall, sales results weren’t too bad because the economy was on fire.

Post-Pandemic:

  • Next to impossible to find good salespeople.
  • Now everyone thinks working at home is great and why should I ever leave my couch!?
  • Overall, sales results won’t be as good because the economy isn’t as good.
  • Executives will freak the f*ck out because sales aren’t as good.
  • Someone will knock on the HR door and say something like, “Our sales suck, we need better salespeople and better sales training!”

Do NOT underestimate how difficult it will be to get your people back on the road!

Right now you’re thinking the opposite. “Tim, every single day I hear from our sales folks about how they can’t wait to get back on the road!” Yeah, turns out, they’re pretty good at telling you and their boss what they want to hear! They already sucked at getting out and making sales calls, staying home for a year, didn’t make them better!

What can HR do to help the Sales Results at their Company? 

1. Help your Sales Leaders make really good accountable goals that are trackable by individuals.

2. Report to your sales leader weekly travel budget stats. You might not be able to see if they did a good sales call, but you can ensure they actually got on the road!

3. Mentor/Buddy programs. It’s hard making sales calls in person. It’s a bit easier when you get back on the road with a partner. Yes, this increases cost, but we need to break the ice and get back into the groove.

4. Force your sales leaders to get back on the road with their team. We love, as sales leaders, to talk about our glory days, yet, not actually show the kids how it’s done.

5. Add a sales “work sample” into your interview process. Make the person interviewing come in and do a sales call with you and someone else from the sales staff. Make them show you they can actually do it. “Timmy, you’re going to come in sell me this Montblanc Pen. Go!”

HR Pros, do not discount the value you can bring to the sales operation of your organization. Sales, revenue generation, is the lifeblood of your company. Want to elevate your status within your organization? Get involved with helping your sales team thrive!

The Bad Idea Trap!

2020 wasn’t the best year for a lot of people and as such we have so much excitement and anticipation for what 2021 will bring, but we are cautious. Already in 2021, we’ve seen some hangover of 2020!

We believe that 2021 and into the near future will be a bit of a struggle for most organizations. Some character building years ahead of us. We’ve come out of a decade of growth, pandemic hits, and now we have some rebuilding to do.

I truly believe when tough times hit, we see the best in people. As professionals, we work harder than ever to get to the success we want. We come up with all sorts of ideas and things to try to get us back on top. Therein lies the problem.

You see, there is this funny phenomenon that happens, that has now been proven in science. Turns out, during bad times, we come up with more bad ideas than good ideas!

Why do we have more bad ideas than good ideas during hard times?

A great historical example (that might have some context to 2020!) was during the 1920s and 1930s. Extremely hard economic times in Germany led to the rise of the Nazis. I think we can all agree, 100%, the Nazis were a very bad idea. But, because of the awful economy, many folks thought the Nazis were a great alternative.

Turns out, depressions, pandemics, social uprisings, etc. Lead us to more bad ideas than good ideas. We start grasping at straws, believing we are trying to help. We are testing out stuff to see what works when we think nothing is working when in reality, we might actually be starting something worse.

To go along with this, when times are awesome, no matter what you do, you probably are less likely to screw something up. “Hey, we did this crazy thing and our sales were up 3%!” Great, maybe if you didn’t do that crazy thing your sales would have been up 10%, but now you think that crazy idea, that bad idea, actually was positive!

Great times cover up many of our bad ideas. Bad times shine a giant light on our bad ideas.

Why am I talking about Bad Ideas? 

2021 might be a ripe time for bad ideas! We all will be pushed and stressed to make things happen. Leaders are going to look for ideas. It’s our job to come up with ideas. Most of those ideas are going to be bad. Sorry, but that’s just simple math. Most ideas are bad, some are good, very few are great.

In HR and TA we tend to believe that our ideas, our projects, our programs, etc. don’t have a giant impact on organizations. Actually, they have more impact than you think, but it’s mostly long-term impact, not short-term. We want these ideas to have an immediate impact, but people and culture tend to take time.

That is why, in 2021, we have to be very careful about the Bad Idea Trap.

I want you to go out and test and try things but move a bit more cautiously out of the gate. Be willing to shut things down quicker. Be more aware of the timing and how your organization is doing. If your organization is killing it, great! Go have some fun, break some things! If your organization isn’t doing well, slow down, take your time, don’t allow yourself to be in a rush, even though it’s going to feel like you should be.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a large corporate meeting room with a bunch of people and some well-meaning executive starts off with “there are no bad ideas! Let me have them all!” Yes, there are bad ideas and the worse idea is a bad idea that is chosen to move forward!

Maybe our 2021 Slogan in HR and TA should be “Yes, there are Bad Ideas!”

Your Superpower is Your Authentic Self!

I had someone ask me what my superpower is? I found that a hard question to answer. I mean do you think being able to write a 500-word blog post in 15 minutes a superpower!? Some bloggers probably do, but no one else!

I was told that my true superpower was me just being me. My authentic self. Then I asked this person how much I owed them for the life coaching session! 😉

We are told constantly to be ourselves, or live our true life, find a way to be yourself, etc. The reality is being your authentic self might be your superpower, but like all superpowers, they can be used for good or evil.

Let me give you the best example ever! Donald Trump is his authentic self. It’s his superpower and he rode that superpower right into the White House. His authentic self was a superpower he used for evil, and ultimately it destroyed him and his legacy.

What I find a leader of people is that employees living their authentic self either works wonderfully or awfully and rarely anywhere in between!

Here’s the thing about being your authentic self, you must first know if your “authentic self” something others want to be around or if your authentic self off-putting to others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, but if your authentic self is a complete asshole, you might want to work for yourself and not someone else!

Let be really frank here, any gender can be an off-putting authentic self. It doesn’t mean you don’t love who you truly are, but you must also realize who you truly are isn’t what most people want to be around. Your superpower isn’t going to be asked to join the Justice League, you’re going to be asked to join the villain side.

In real life, you actually don’t become a villain, unless you’re DJT. Most likely you become your own boss, or you live a miserable existence trying to fit into a work world that doesn’t want you and you don’t want it. Some of the best and brightest people I know can’t work for others. Their superpower is something that allows them to be awesome, but not when working closely with others on a daily basis.

Why does this matter? 

It matters because if some idiot is trying to sell you the snake oil of “Just be your Authentic Self” you must first determine, is your authentic self something others will embrace and want to be around. If so, great, you’re going to probably have a great career. If it’s not, and you want to work in the corporate world, you’re probably in for a lot of therapy.

Also, let me be very clear, not living your authentic self while you are at work isn’t the worse thing in the world. You can be one thing at work and another thing in your personal life. Is it ideal? No. But, I’ve seen many people in my career be successful in doing this. It’s a little like Clark Kent and Superman. I can be Clark Kent at work and then go home and be Superman in the rest of my life.

The worse thing that can happen is you try and force your authentic self onto others and believe they should “accept” your authentic self. Nope. That’s not how it works. You can’t make anyone accept your authentic self, you can only make yourself accept that. If I don’t like your superpower, you can’t make me like it, and if I’m in a position to determine the trajectory of your career, you’re in trouble.

Superpowers are awesome, but they can be super for good or super for bad. Love who you are, but don’t expect others will necessarily love it.

I hear you…

It’s what you hearing…Listen!

It’s what you hearing…Listen!

It’s what you hearing…LISTEN! (DMX – X Gon’ Give It To Ya)

I hear you…

2020 was not what you expected or what you wanted. I hear you.

You aren’t where you want to be in life. I hear you.

You didn’t accomplish all you wanted this year. I hear you.

You lost more than you won this year. I hear you.

You took some big losses in 2020. I hear you.

You felt like the world has turned upside down. I hear you.

You’re afraid that 2021 might not be much better. I hear you.

You’re not sure your career is on pace for where it should be. I hear you.

I hear you.

What I love about New Years’ is we are given this freedom, once per year, to start over or continue, or do just make a decision to move in another direction and go, “yeah, in 2021 I’m going to do “X”!”

We are congratulated on this announcement. Good for you! I can’t wait to see how that turns out!

So, I hear you, and now is the time for you to make a decision. You can continue being your version of 2020 or you can try and be something else in 2021. Quite frankly, this has worked really great for me in some years, and not at all in other years. Still, I like the exercise.

If I could be “X” in 2021, what would that be and how would I get there, and am I willing to put in that work or change to get there? 

This isn’t about anyone or anything else. It’s just you. We love to believe it’s about other things. If I just had another job. If I just had a different significant other. If I just lived someplace else. If I just wasn’t so unmotivated. Then, my entire life would be better!

I hear you.

Now, write down what you want to do in 2021 and email it to me at sackett.tim@gmail.com. Let’s get to work on that.