Above and Beyond

So many people think they do all the things their employer wants of them and then some.  So many people have it wrong.  It has little to do with key contributors between the hours of 8 and 5. It's more than how many hours you work. It's an intangible that some people have, some people think they have, and sadly, some people don't.  For those that are already engaged in this 'always on' mentality, it’s hard to comprehend why this little ‘switch’ doesn't exist in others.

It doesn't make those that don't have it bad people, or bad workers. It just won't get them as far as those that do have it.  To get by and succeed, move up, create growth opportunities, an employee has to challenge themself and create challenges that set them apart from the masses whether in a small business or large corporation.  They don’t need to be the proverbial “teacher’s pet” in that scenario either.

I like using this true story as an example of how some candidates take the extra step to show why they’re the cream of the crop.  It illustrates what I think is a teachable commodity, but not everyone will carry it out.  My first month on the job here, I was on my way back from a client meeting 45 minutes away.  Two of my colleagues were out sick, and the owner was trying to juggle all the calls coming into the office, handling interviews, and everything else that comes along with the work day.  In comes a scheduled candidate for her appointment, let’s call her Connie.  Connie observed the phone ringing one call coming in after another and astutely asks the owner if she can lend a hand and take some messages.  Are you kidding me?  A job candidate, jumping in, not knowing much about us, able to swing through and help the office in a time of need, not because she’s trying to impress, but because she sees a need and wants to help. It’s how she’s programmed – a solid ‘above and beyond’ mentality.  I came in a short while later seeing Connie answering phones and started wondering if we’d hired a new person that day.  She was a natural.

Connie and I sat down for an interview, discussed objectives, goals, experiences and more.  We had a delightful conversation about who she was and what she wanted to accomplish, but also why she stepped up.  Almost two years later and I vividly remember her candidly relaying that she could clearly see that the owner (she didn’t realize she was the owner at the time) needed help and it was just the right thing to do. She didn’t think twice about it.  Within two or three days, we had Connie placed at a short term, two week position in a very visible and challenging role.  Connie didn’t last two weeks; she lasted 18 months and is still there. She was hired on by our client, and is in a great position now, with a great company.  It just goes to show you that a little ‘above and beyond’ can go a long way.  We recognized it immediately, as did our client.  I’m sure that at some point, someone taught Connie a lesson of doing a little bit more, every day, regardless of the situation. I look at it as creating the best opportunities for yourself. Connie did just that, and with her work ethic, I’m confident it will help her accomplish great things in life.

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