Each kind of fruit has its own harvest-ready days in this season and many, noticeably,come to full readiness beginning mid-summer. Consider the “delicious time” of a career. Early harvest is a fortuitous time to stop and carefully examine the earliest produce of the first 30-60 days of a new job. For many employers, this is a “trial” period. Predictably, any kind of trouble in these days could mean loss of an entire harvest later.
Employers expect certain kinds and quality of results and development in workers within a specific time frame. Employees expect certain kinds and qualities of satisfaction and advancement in a specific time frame. There do exist situations in which the sampling of a worker’s produce is done way too early. Certain results/professional development need longer times. However, especially for workers in the lower tiers of the workplace terrace, the expert eye of a supervisor is often on-point.
As has been mentioned before there are expectations (new hire may or may not be told) already in place to be met. The 30-60-90 day plan from the employer’s viewpoint is intended to predict a potentially outstanding harvest or a productivity disaster (costs the company lost time and financial gain).
Employers want to know as early as possible whether or not to continue investing time and expertise (care, attention and fertilizer) in developing an employee.
Employees want to know as early as possible whether or not the workplace soil (opportunity for growth and learning) will support ongoing development.
Hopefully, the employee knows how she/he will be judged and has before accepting the offer presented the employer with a “preview”–the 30-60-90 day plan–the seed packet illustration of what kind of bloom to expect. In the garden and in careers certain questions have to be answered.
Here are the questions: Does the late summer sample show a potentially good harvest or a poor one? Is this tree/flower/worker going to produce a prize winner or an average bloom?
If there is any one summer task that typifies the season, it is weeding. Weeds grow…well, like weeds in the summertime garden. Weeds spring up in career planning movements too. A weed is any plant that is out of place or out of context in the garden. A flower somewhere else is a weed where it is not welcome.
A wild rose springing up in a pedigreed rose bed is a weed. Ivy dangling in a hanging pot is cute. Helix sprawling wild, overpowering other plants in a yard is not so cute. The way a corporation relates to a worker is determined by whether or not that worker is looked upon as a weed or a flower. Question: Was the hiring placement appropriate? A worker might thrive and bloom in one kind of work environment, but be utterly barren and ugly somewhere else. Do oaks grow in the desert? Do aloe thrive on the seashore?
This is the reason for having carefully thought out career management strategies. For well-informed career decisions to be made it is necessary to know, understand and honor personal cultivar—-one’s own nature, personality and needs. the lessons of the garden and a bit of ancient wisdom taught me to always take a comprehensive view of any project before starting it, or risk being embarrassed by the results of bad planning. This includes deciding not to accept incorrect job placements in companies whose missions and cultures would make me like a rose in the desert or dandelion in a front lawn. Shriveled. Miserable. Unwelcome. Weed. Surviving several bad job decisions in my life taught me to make sure to make that target jobs are in line with well thought out career goals so to not end up as heather in the desert.
How do you know it’s mid-summer, June 21, in a career? How do you know it is Solstice?
Favor at work with supervisors and coworkers
Vibrant green finances: good salary, great perks, and fantastic benefits
Status symbols: cars, jewelry, season tickets to exclusive events
High regard as a producer: awards, plaques, honors, trophies and trips
High regard as a citizen in the community: owner of “ground beneath my bed”, leader of the “movers and shakers”, busy and constantly sought out
Enough to eat and to provide to others
Popularity: business in a growth phase, relationships/networks deep and wide
“All is well” in the soul
These are some of the manifestations of the abundant, verdant mid-summer in life and in a career. This is when Life spreads a joyous feast and we roll in her gracious lap, privileged to plunge both our whole hands in the deep cream and stuff ourselves silly.
I remember in the early days at my very first professional job when I was a new-hire just out of university. I haughtily gazed out of the painted-shut kitchen windows of my first rented apartment and dared dream of owning a condo on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island with a view of the river. All was as it should be. I walked down the street from my good-salaried job at the end of working days to a lavishly appointed restaurant with the dark, medieval feel I prized and fearlessly ordered Black Angus steak cooked exactly the way I liked it as if I were a Tudor in exile.
Having inherited AAA credit from my mom, who was a homeowner, I observed how she managed the household’s money. That is why I had the awareness to save and my financial “pile” grew very well. However,only a few months later my fortune suddenly changed at work, and my “pile” shriveled like a fallen leaf. Nobody instructed me how to protect myself; nobody shared my sorrow; nobody caught me when I fell like a weevil-infested bud.
My goodness, do we human beings ever love passionately leaping into the lavish arms of summer! We go hog wild plunging into the warm waters, lighting fragrant fires to cook our communal feasts, baking our bodies in the sun and reveling in the lingering daylight. Summer gets to be way too much for me by the middle of it, but I have to confess to one “summer sin”.
I sometimes get cross-eyed “summer drunk”. What?
“Summer drunk” is that sluggish, torpid state of having too much of everything at one time and acting like it will never end. Do you remember last year’s Thanksgiving feast how it felt to be so painfully full after? This is what I mean when I say it is possible to get “summer drunk” any time there is so much blessing and so much overflowing bounty of growth and prosperity. It just becomes extremely hard to keep balance of vision. Summer is here, but winter is also on the direct opposite side. Better to freeze some of that turkey!
There is another danger inherent to gardeners in the summer–laziness and carelessness born of all that comfort and coatless-ness. A creeping forgetfulness particularly associated with this season can make us neglectful to watch for the weeds and diseases that are also springing up right beside the good crops. No garden is without pests or weeds. There is waiting underground a malicious, opportunistic crop not deliberately planted that will not refuse to suck up any nourishment from our cultivated beds. I have observed that the better the soil, the better kept the garden, the higher class of weeds spring up and the more diligent must be the tending.
In the garden and in a career it is important not to get “summer drunk” and forgetful to manage the overflow of summer’s fast, lush growth. While intoxicated (flush?) with present success In the most productive times of life, future old age and disability never come and unemployment happens to inferior others. As a younger professional I saved too little and followed fashion too much. I have since learned that life moves cyclically and as sure as there is an overflowing summer, there is also a starving winter so, it makes sense to learn how to “can” summer produce. That means, learn to save habitually, invest well and spend wisely.
Spring is a hopeful spirit who rises from death in snowdrops and daffodils. As a child growing up in Norfolk, VA, I remember my mother used to restart the kitchen garden each year a few weeks after Equinox when the ground was soft and warm enough to plant directly. I remember her telling me to put three seeds in the hole. “One for the ground, one for the birds and one to grow”, she said. To think about it, the seeds of a career are not that much different.
ONE FOR THE HOLE
Not every idea seed we sow will grow into a productive career. Some seeds are “duds”. Sally Jessy Raphael tried out for 142 voiceover acting jobs and never got a single one. She was fired 18 times from broadcasting jobs before she became the nationally acclaimed talk show host we know. Every alleged “overnight sensation” has “paid the dues” in darkness and obscurity for years. The seed “for the ground” is almost like an offering given at the beginning of a project to honor your “grounding/base”. To this day there is a suspicion that some of the mishaps that took the lives of immigrant construction workers while they were building the earliest transportation infrastructure of this nation in the 19th and early 20th centuries (including the Transcontinental Railroad and the Erie Canal) were not accidents, but offerings to the earth like the one said to have been performed before raising the great Irish round fort, Emain Macha (Eamhain Mhacha).
ONE FOR THE BIRDS
Some seeds end up as food for the crows or get dug up by other critters living in the garden. The “one for the birds” is any misbegotten, meshuggener idea of building a career on weaknesses instead of innate strengths. This is “operating outside your gift” such as the nurse who ought to be a researcher; the teacher who ought to be an administrator. This is the folly of walking a path not your own because “mom/friend/school guidance counselor told me this would be good for me”. Using the example of my own life, I fought hard to become an administration worker though it was obvious that kind of job is like a prison for me. It was only when I decided to stop “playing it safe” in my career search that I found my true calling.
ONE TO GROW
The prosperous, strong seed is the one whose taproot pieces through the crust of misdirection and life’s nonsense, boring a channel to the place where it will strike water and begin building a richly branched network anchor in the correct soil. May I reemphasize that this seed will only grow strong roots in a profession through diligent, persistent networking?This is the seed which in its season will stretch upward leaves toward the sun and begin bringing food and color to the plant. The strong career seed is the one directly in synch with innate strengths, gifts and talents. We must labor to ensure that we set this seed up for optimum development of the bud that will become flower and fruit.