Growing up in a fishing community I often saw fisher folk exhibit different strategies to get their daily haul of fish. There is a method of fishing where fishermen would simply tie one end of their net to a coconut tree, sit in their canoe with the other end, go round in a semi circle and tie the net to another tree. Then they would pull, amidst the singing and chanting various local songs from locals on the beach, until they drew up some fish. They often caught the few fish daring enough to venture into the shallow waters, but very often they simply pulled debris to shore while fishing in the shallow waters, destroying their nets in the process. But when they really wanted to excite their captivated audience they would go deep into the sea where the big fish lived and bring them home.
I find this story relevant in our workplaces today; the fishermen who fish at the shore are no different from those who go into the deep. They have the same skill sets, same goals and probably same strengths at what they do. Similarly at our workplaces today, there are two kinds of workers. The first group comprises of those who fish at the shore; those who just do what their job description dictates or even less. They do achieve targets but they rarely make any strides. They are easily forgettable.
This second group of workers is made up of the ones who venture into the deep. They are ambitious, hungry for success and eager to achieve results. This category of workers is often tagged “over and beyond”, sometimes in a derogatory sense by those who do little. But really, these are the ones who raise the bar in the workplaces. These people take initiative, they are proactive, and they own their work.
The point I am making is that it takes very little to fish at the shore. What actually determines your worth as an employee is work that is significant enough that it excites you and your supervisors. Remember you are where you are because your organisation needs your qualities and competence, and being an innovative employee also builds your own capacity.
So examine yourself, what kind of employee are you? If you choose to fish at the shore, you may get some fish but you will also collect lots of debris and ruin your net. If you venture into the deep and the unknown, if you take calculated risks backed by solid research and planning, you are sure to bring in the big catch and excite your employers as well as develop yourself.
Image Credit: National Geographic