Friday 8 April 2011

Thought Picnic: Regaining the verve

Regaining the verve

It has recently become apparent that the wealth of professional experience and the almost enviable record of impact and radical change that has somewhat been the hallmark of my career over 23 years was no more turning heads as much.

Times when one would turn down opportunities because the people had put you through an interrogation of waterboarding and asphyxiation whilst waiting for a better opportunity that always eventually came have somehow passed.

My first job

My very first job was in a brewery just after secondary school, by arrangement of my father who was the Chief Accountant, I went for interview where the test of my knowledge of chemistry and physics for a laboratory assistant’s job put my pride at stake and obviously the reputation of my father where if I performed badly, it would reflect badly on both of us and possibly any other recommendations for employment my father makes.

They were impressed and on the way back from the interview, I had by reason of the moving vehicle fallen asleep as I was wont to leaving the driver to a reckless manoeuvre that had a laden truck ram into us from behind and still had us at fault with no eye witnesses.

I did start work on the following Monday but there was no time to reflect on how well I did, but by the time I left, I observed that the end of the line in the loading bay had some cartons of beer poorly packed, with broken bottles and in one instance there was a cockroach in a ready-to-go delivery.

Shaking it up

I suggested to my manager a quality checking procedure that meant randomly selecting 12 cartons at different times of the day to check for the quality of the contents, checking off a worksheet which fed back into the system to improve quality through all parts of the beer-to-bottle-to-carton process.

Each subsequent job where I have been allowed the latitude, I have been a change and improvement agent, just because it happens and just because it benefits the organisation and it was just a matter of course which when looked back on is radical in its effect and wonderful to behold.

Somehow, I have never been there long enough to reap rewards before another scheme called on my skills to do something simple and realise something complete, the knowledge passed on to the extent that one becomes too expensive to keep on – in any case, at that time, my work is usually done and pastures anew await.

Putting letters to the skill

Today, my marketing literature reads well but does not pass the muster because there are no letters validating basic knowledge even though the words speak of extensive experience from three countries supporting global enterprises in complex environments.

So, something needs to be done to get my stuff beyond those filters that prevent that first call, the contact, that chat, that interview and that job.

The joy of study for an examination was rekindled and I dusted some books, refreshed my knowledge on some obscure features and watched simulations of some activities and I prepped my system for some practice.

Having fun

I chuckled and laughed in the library as I watched the expression of the thinking that went into some processes, the apparently complex stuff being made simple and easy to grasp and understand.

I was having amazing fun preparing for an examination that I plan to take very soon and pass well, I would immediately update my curriculum vitae and send it out to those who matter with the hope that it would begin to percolate to the top.

Twice before, I scheduled three tests for the same day and did brilliant clearing the full certification in weeks, couple that with experience and a return to helping others in forums I have long been passive on and well, the makings of a bigger profile loom.

I am enjoying this and well, I am not throwing in the towel for what at certain times had me in the top 10% of experts in my field. I am even thinking of going back to university but there are pressing needs that need to be in order to chart that course confidently.

The fundamental lesson really is one has to change to remain relevant or the threat of irrelevance when not heeded to with radical change will leave you out.

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