MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

July 22, 2008

Baby Sea Turtles

When sea turtles hatch, for the first 24-48 hours of their lives they are little energy dynamos. They race to the water's edge and swim, swim, swim! They don't eat, they don't sleep, just keep swimming and swimming and swimming. After about 24-48 hours they slow down and settle into the more normal daily life of a sea turtle. They start looking for food, shelter, etc.

Biologists believe it's a genetic survival instinct. The fast and furious swimming gives the young turtles the best chance to get away from the breaks and shore line, out past the reefs and into the open ocean where there are fewer dangers like predators and pounding surf and propel themselves into a successful life.

This is very analogous to work. Specifically the start of a person's career.

When you're young, fresh out of school you are filled with high energy and desires. Your head is full of hopes, dreams, possibilities, and more than just a few ivory tower ideals from your teachers and various school councilors and advisors. Eventually, for most people, after several years that high endless energy level begins to wax as reality sets in and other things start to take your attention. You want to travel, take vacations, meet people, date, mate and so on.

But, unlike the turtles that have the whole ocean to explore, a person can't spend their early years bouncing monthly from employer to employer looking for the best environment. Yes you probably could but then you get the label of a job-hopper. And in that situation I would agree.

The key important factor here is to work in the right environment where all your hard efforts and high energies will be recognized and rewarded. A far more difficult task than it sounds!

Besides over coming the usually entry level work-like-a-dog-for-nearly-nothing and the "I've been here 28 years and let me tell you young man…" mentality, the simple fact is it's hard to know for sure what company is right to choose. And that's presuming you have several offers to pick from, a real luxury these days with the current job market.

At best when you interview you spend 20-30 minutes with a manager. If they are a real asshole you will know immediately. That kind of person is obvious. But many others are more subtle. Very hard to tell in only a few minutes.

It's a hard but important choice to make. Choose a bad manager or company and you waste the most powerful and productive years of your career. Pick correctly and you're well on your way to the corner office. But in the end, it's a blind choice that will only prove out in time.

Sometimes I think the turtles have it easier.

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