Friday, February 18, 2011

Showing People You're Good at Your Job

When I met Barack-alike last night, I didn't need to know anything to know he was good at his job.  He just had to stand there, and there I was with my mouth open, thinking he was nearly the real deal. He didn't even have to say anything to convince me, although when he spoke he was indeed presidential.

The truth is, you really shouldn't have to convince people you're good at what you do. In an ideal world, they should be thinking from the first few minutes they meet you and hear you speak, "yes, this person is a perfect fit for this position/project/contract." Your "good-ness" would be evident in the way you describe your interest in the opportunity and how your experience matches it.  And, in how you listen. And, in how you see yourself fitting in to their ecosystem for the present and the future. Also, in how you make decisions, take action and when and how, cope with the expected and unexpected in everyday situations, relate to people, create documents, fill in forms, pay attention to details, anticipate what others might want, communicate what you and others might need, and render important information, including in numbers and graphics, that are relevant to a variety of audiences. It would be evident in the fact that you want to feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror, and you want to be able to sleep at night. You want others to feel good about you, and you want them to sleep at night. You want to be an action figure, but are thoughtful and contemplative. You want to provide valuable input, but also know when to keep quiet for a while. When you sing, you want to have perfect pitch, and when you play the bass, you want it to sing, maybe even like Esperanza Spalding!

The reality is, we need to objectify ourselves and our experiences all the time. Produce the numbers, the portfolios, the videos and photos, the followers and retweets, the links and the press pickups, the testimonials and the shoutouts--the ROI. Because that's just how life is.

So for me, when people want to see what I'm good at, I show them Twitteration. I also show them some of my recent articles and videos,  and photos that highlight my passions, interests, and professional activities. And of course I want to share the nice things people said about me, because I work hard, and I want it to show in my work product and in my relationships.

All this is just some of what I can show. Because just like in "American Idol," chances are you're not going to know me when I first walk in to the audition room. That is, of course, until I show you my stuff.

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