Nothing can be further from the truth.
If you thought you were above "corporate politics" and your good work would speak for itself, think again. You may not only be sabotaging an otherwise great career, you may actually be setting yourself up to be at the front of the "layoff line".
How is that possible?
You see, while a job well done may get you noticed, one of the critical components for success in the workplace is not just the work that you do, it's the relationships that you build.
We've all seen it. That guy/gal that seems to do only average work and yet continues to get recognized and move ahead while you, sitting quietly at your desk are putting out GREAT work which seems to go unnoticed.
What's the difference?
We often want to blame such disparities on racism or sexism and while I don't deny that your environment may hold some of those challenges, the rest of the story is that while you are sitting quietly at your desk not wanting to play in the sandbox with the other kids and feeling superior, your "average" colleague is getting to know his colleagues and his bosses. HE is having conversations that are giving him the inside scoop on what's going on in the organization and what opportunities are on the horizon. HE is building relationships. YOUR colleagues and YOUR leadership are getting to know his intentions. They know his goals. They know how hard he is working. They know his strengths and weaknesses and they are giving him feedback on that same presentation you felt you could do all by yourself. In short, they are getting to know him. HE is getting invited into opportunities that you know nothing about. He is the guy that may have started off slow but will be your boss five years from now….
….you clock in at 8:30am and are out at 5:30pm. You get invited to lunch but because you don't want to be bothered or you don't think you'll enjoy yourself, you rarely go. You might hang out on the periphery of the "in crowd" thinking that may be enough to get you over the top but anything that requires effort or asks you to stretch in conversation with someone you've already made up your mind you "don't like" is way too much "work". After all, you say to yourself, "My boss always tells me my work is excellent, so I don't need to play politics."
Here's what you may not realize……
When it comes time to evaluate personnel for lay-offs or downsizings, who do you think will be at greater risk? The person that has made friends and has gotten to know his bosses and colleagues well or you, who sits quietly at your desk?
You see, the thing we often forget is that when it comes time for lay-offs, while your boss may think you do a great work, the decisions are most likely made echelons above him. And THEY (the decision-makers) have heard several people talk about "average guy" take a stand for his work, while the only person talking about you is your boss (by the way, the same philosophy holds true for promotions and other opportunities). Your work may be good, but you (the person) remain an unknown quantity,
So do yourself a favor: Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. You are good at what you do. You may even be great. So GET IN THE GAME. Get to know the folks around you. Collect folks around you who know what you're up to and can speak for your good work when you aren't around. You deserve to get a crack at those opportunities that only surface at the lunch table or on the golf course.
As one reformed "quiet worker" to another (hopefully), you may also find yourself pleasantly surprised by the number of good and likable people around you once you let you guard down and let others play in your sandbox too.
You were born to be great.
YES, you can!