Thursday, November 27, 2014

More on Not Complaining; Finding a Job

In my recent post on Jack Downey, I commented that it is a good practice not to complain to the people who have you under their control.

This was more or less the view of one of my mentors at Smathers & Thompson, Roland Parent, a seasoned litigator and former FBI special agent.  I'm sure he didn't mean to discourage what we now call respectful "push-back" in a given situation, where the subordinate has something to say to the superior that is important to resolving the situation.

But his view was that if you don't like the situation you are in, then start looking around for somewhere else to work.  He had this view about compensation.  He thought that if you didn't like your raise or bonus, (or lack of those things) then get ready to leave and then leave.  This wasn't all that one-sided, because in terms of raises and bonuses he was generous.  He didn't want to give any room for well-founded disappointment.

Several years ago, a friend of ours from overseas had just received his Green Card.  He was looking for a particular job for which he was well prepared.  There were few of those jobs in Florida.  I told him about the shale boom in North Dakota.  He was from a Northern European country about the same latitude as North Dakota.  There would be plenty of jobs there, I said - or least look and see.  He thought I was kidding.  People get set in a place, comfortable there, and there they want to sit.

And this is advice from someone who has lived nearly all his life in Miami Springs!  But I was fortunate in finding a good job early on.  We don't usually have to tell a person to stay where he is  happy enough, although we can tell him to make the most of it there.

What is "enough?"  That's another question.  I suppose it depends on the extent and nature of one's ambition - and ambition is a very complex element of one's character.  Furthermore, the nature and extent of one's ambition circles back on whether he is happy enough.

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