The ‘best and brightest’

Dot of color

Originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn

As snowstorms ravage the Midwest, I’m happy that it’s a constant 70-odd degrees here in South Florida. And I hope it stays that way when I roll up to Orlando next week to go see what’s shaking in my field.

So funny that, one year ago, I went to Mickey Mouse’s domain because I was thinking of leaving a job and wanted to see where I should go. Here I am again, this time with no parachute, wondering where I should go. 🙂

I think everybody, self included, thought I’d pull something out of my butt right away. I think that “everybody” must have underestimated how much groundwork one must lay in order to glide out into one’s next opportunity. (It took three solid months last time around. We’re at six weeks and counting this time.)

And this isn’t even counting the half-dozen times I’ve heard, “You’re overqualified.” When the hell has a company ever cared about that, I ask you?

Besides, per this article on Honestly, I’m Willing to Work for Less Money:

Companies want to know how much you made at your last/current job and they’ll badger you until they either get it or you give up and go elsewhere. And then, the end result is, if your previous salary was too low, then they think you’re not qualified and if it was too high then you’re either a. overqualified or b. just taking this job until you can find another one.

Newsflash to the hiring managers out there: We’re all just taking this job until we can find a better one.

I remember hiring both at the Veggie Patch and Ye Olde Employment Establishment. I remember telling my superiors that certain candidates were too damn smart for what I needed them to do (i.e., “bitch work”). And that they would surely leave once they realized all we needed was a warm body.

And as someone who has been trying to make a career everywhere I go (as it takes a full year just to understand the cycle, let alone how you can improve it), I didn’t want to keep someone for a year until they moved on, only to have to train their replacement when they had enough time clocked on their resume.

I remember being told to hire the “best and brightest.” But as one of those best and brightest myself — one who fought against the status quo every day of my miserable life — I was very concerned that they wouldn’t have the same fight in them that I did. Fight that was weaning and wearing me down as I couldn’t win One. Goddamned. Battle.

In other words, perhaps my greatest gift to the next generation of talent/leadership was to not put them through the same shit that challenged my spirit daily.

But alas, my leaders convinced me to put offers on the table for the best people. I have to say, that was a valuable lesson for me.

I LOVED working with ambitious, talented, idea-filled and tireless people. What a change from the upper management at most places! The ability to collaborate, brainstorm and just TACKLE projects with the force of two (or more) people was simply exhilarating.

I will always be on the lookout for the next dream team. I think the best way to approach it is to be solo and move from project to project. That way, when something gets old or it just isn’t working, I can say “enough” and move on to the next thing. Better still, if something isn’t providing instant results, I can move on to something that does.

I say all of this to say that I got an offer last night that I had to respectfully decline. I never had a problem with the team (I rather loved it) but the leadership failed me in a lot of respects. And I don’t handle failure well at all, because it translates into *my* performance and that isn’t a track record I want to have.

My mom wishes I would just take the first thing that comes along and I can figure it out later. But I wonder if this isn’t God’s way of telling me to hang in there because the right thing is around the corner. I personally feel like I have to be strong and wise enough to just *know* what to do. And falling into, “Well, I could make this work till I find the next thing” seems to be the surest gateway to the next set of hard times.

Of course, now that the landlady has hiked the hell out of my rent, I do wonder whether I shouldn’t just take stability over happiness, whatever that may be. But is anything really stable these days? Was it ever?

And why does it seem the “best and brightest” are all lined up on the streets when the “decent” and “least likely to make waves” seem to be doing just fine? Or is that what the best and brightest are doing to cloak their superhero identities that the marketplace seemingly has no place for these days?

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