A quote from Paul Arden’s book “Whatever you think, think the opposite” – a great read Rockyie suggested to me.
The steady Eddie
The corporate non-risk taker rises fast on the freshness of youth; an open mind, a pleasant demeanour and good looks will accelerate this rise. His superiors are pleased to promote him since it reflects well on them. The candidate reaches a platform of responsibility, not something to be treated lightly. After all he is now a manager, albeit a junior one.
His salary rises in accordance with status, not ability, and he reaches board level. It is now time to appoint a joint or deputy managing director. Our man is considered to be a good company man, but he is a bit dull.
He doesn’t produce innovation; he doesn’t do anything for the image of the company. There’s a very good young man in his department earning a third of his salary, who younger members of staffs respond to. Our man at forty is moved sideways, and at forty-seven he is out.
He didn’t reach the top of the ladder, he has fallen and there is no climbing back. He’s finished, yet he has done nothing wrong.
That is the problem.
He’s done nothing wrong.
The reckless Erica
As a youngster she doesn’t have the charm of the previous character. Not the corporate type. She’s irritating but enthusiastic and popping with daft ideas. So they keep her on. Most of her ideas are regarded as impractical, too adventurous or plain silly. But somewhere in the company someone picks up one of her wilder thoughts and promotes it. It gets noticed because it is different and fresh.
For the next three years she produces a series of unusable ideas. She becomes increasingly irritating and is fired. Now the odd thing is that it is not as difficult for her to get a new job as she thought, because a number of people remember that rather good idea she produced three years ago. They prefer to gloss over the failures.
Her name on the payroll adds a bit glamour to her new company.
But the same progress happens again. Once more she is fired, but now there are two pieces of work that make her memorable. She’s not just a one-off. Her whole life is lived like this: a series of ups and downs, more downs than ups. But when she reaches the age of forty she has a track record.
She has become a respected person.
Still reckless Erica, but more in demand than ever because she failed to conform.