Team player

While looking trough a lot of job-applications I’ve begun to question a certain aspect that I see a lot.

Why do so many recruiters write out that “You need to be a team player”, without saying much more?

No one would like to let a bad apple spoil the bunch, sure; but who would admit to being a bad team player if asked the question? If they’re even self-aware to know that they do have problems of working together, towards a common goal.

Could writing it out as a requirement, bluntly like so, be misinterpreted? What lies beneath those words? It makes more sense to me if you would rather speak of your company culture and how your processes usually looks like. It could be an encouragement to drop the ego, be open, humble and straightforward towards your colleagues. Or it could just as well mean to not question the status quo and be compliant with whatever requirements that are put upon you.

One common sentence whose underlying meaning could vary immensely, depending from where it comes.

What’s the first thing you come to think of?

Be a fan or don’t bother

Numerous times have I read comments and heard stories on the topic of “Work for passion VS work for money”.

And I get it, you can’t always pick and choose. You still have to pay your bills and you will always need to eat and etc. We’ve heard it before.

However, something that we can choose to do every time we decide to go into a new project, is to be honest and transparent with our perception on things. Even if you’re standing in front of a brief that isn’t overly exciting; you still need to believe that it’s worth paying attention to. Otherwise you cannot expect the work you do to be excellent. Because how would that be possible? Helping someone sell a product or service that you don’t believe is worth buying? That is not called helping.

So what if then, a client comes before you and asks for your help to promote their service, and there’s good money in it. But, no matter how hard you try to like it, twist and turn to see the good in it; you still don’t believe it’s useful and sustainable.

Would you tell the client your concerns and pass it on to someone who would believe in it? Or would you be quiet and accept the task anyway?

Safety

I grew up with the understanding that to become independent, safe and flexible; you should aim for a full-time job, and do everything in your power to maintain it.

And sure, where I live you have to cause quite a commotion if your employer wants to fire you when you have got a full-time position. So it’s safe so to speak. Your income is predictable. Even if you’re not making a lot each month, you know that you’ll get more in a couple of weeks. As long as you clock in 8 A.M, out 5 P.M, agree to do everything they ask for and don’t ask too many questions.

I’m not sure I agree that’s the best way to go at it if you want to feel somewhat safe financially.

I’ve in the recent years thought that, devoting 100% of my time to only one source of income would render me too vulnerable for sudden changes. My employee is not invincible and could fall just like I could, or anyone else for that matter. And if my one and only source would falter, panic and desperation could very well be a real thing. Bills still needs to be payed, food brought to the table and etc.

Obviously, working with several income streams instead would require more work, more responsibility and more strategy. The outcome however, is an improved flexibility that would provide me a greater sense of stability than any full-time job. Not only would I have other income streams to turn to and nurture, should any prior fail. But I would also be much more prepared and comfortable with the unpredictable, as I’m now responsible for looking up new business opportunities and dealing with risks as well

Strife

Being constantly stressed out is by no means an advantage to anyone.

Being outside of your comfort zone however only makes you stronger. If the situation demands me to be resourceful, I have no other choice than to do what needs to be done. Be it learning a new skill, kill my darlings or re-think a belief that is no longer doing me any good.

Although, jump out too far into the danger zone and you’ll become desperate and put in a weak position for negotiation. Beggars can’t be choosers.

It’s an act of balance. Become too comfortable and I’ll grow stagnant. Stay in the fire for too long and I’ll burn up.

The trick I believe is not fleeing from any of the two extremes; life will push you back and forth wether you like it or not. Instead, you should learn how to navigate within that spectrum, to dance with the circumstances thrown at you.

Dogfooding

I love dogs, but this has nothing to do with our canine friends.

Since a a couple of months ago I’ve started building a lot of websites for clients, and all of them requested some kind of CMS-system. WordPress being the only platform I’ve ever worked with before, it naturally became my first choice, and I am growing ever more fond of it for every new project we start.

So fond of it that I thought I should use it myself. Not only because it’ll be easier for me to update the site with new content, but also because I’ll become a user myself of the products I’m delivering.

Eating your own dog food. If I want to add something new to the mix, I’ll be the first one to taste and approve of it.