You can’t control everything about your job.
Recession, disruptive technologies, excessive absenteeism and wearing Birkenstocks to staff meetings loom over all of us, and there’s not a thing we can do about it.
We can, however, take precautions to increase our security in light of an uncertain future.
One way to do this is to discover and nurture your hidden talents.
When you know you are good at something, you make sure everybody else knows too. If you’re anything like me, you’ll email your manager with a description of even the tiniest examples of your supposed abilities. (ie, free-hand drawing a perfect cube on the white board in the conference room).
It is vital that you take stock occasionally and assess yourself for special competencies that you and your high school career counselor missed. Then take the time to develop that ability into a marketable, career-enhancing asset. It doesn’t help if you sit around all day on your asset. Stand up and show the world.
If you don’t, you may regret it. Take my friend, Trevor, for example.
Trevor is a 46 year old male, doesn’t smoke, drinks from time to time throughout the day, and until a few years ago, had spent most of his adult life cut off from all human contact. He was miserable, and his despicable existence made him the object of speculation and scorn among his Parnellian neighbors.
That all changed in 2009 when he met his now lovely fiance, Beatrice. By most standards, Trevor is a creepy-looking social leper. Beatrice saw something else special in him instantly, something Trevor only realized when they started having sex.
“I was shocked. I never knew I was capable of such a thing,” Trevor told me. “We were going at it when we heard this whiny, panting sound coming from the corner of her room. At first, I thought it was Beatrice’s husband hiding in the closet again, but it actually turned out to be me. I had been throwing my voice.”
Beatrice was very impressed with Trevor’s ability in the bedroom.
“That sealed the deal for me,” she said. “Not to sound like a cliche or anything, but like all the other girls where I grew up, I’ve wanted to fuck a ventriloquist ever since I went through puberty. ”
With Beatrice’s encouragement, and an old sock bearing a picture of Trevor taped on, the nascent ventriloquist turned his untapped potential into positive cashflow with a startup busking service in the Auckland CBD.
“We’ve never been happier,” Beatrice said during a recent visit to their cozy home inside their 2002 Honda Civic.
I asked Trevor if he had any regrets, how things might have been had he discovered his talent 20 years earlier.
“Yeah, nah,” he said.
“You don’t ever wonder how many times you could have gotten laid had you developed your ventriloquism in high school?”
“Well, now that you put it that way, yeah. Sucks”
“And then maybe you could have gotten a real ventriloquist’s dummy,” I said. “One that looks just like you. And then you could have just walked around the CBD, and every time you passed a pretty woman, you could have had the dummy say ‘Hello, nice lady’ and bang. You’d get laid.”
“What if they said no?”
“You’re a busker. Hit them up for money.”
“You could even write it on a bit of cardboard. ‘Ventriloquist: Cash or sexual favor accepted.’ You should give it a go.”
The conversation would have continued if Beatrice didn’t pipe in about something or other. I don’t know, I kind of just left.
But the point is this, if you take any take away from this Business Learnings, it has to be: don’t be a Trevor.