Occasionally I get articles bumped on my feed that have been published on Linkedin. I love Linkedin articles because you can count on them to be irrefutably wrong. They’re quite simply terrible. But even better are the sanctimonious comments that follow them as people virtue signal like crazy in a desperate attempt to agree with whatever nonsense has been uttered in the hope that this will land them a job or allow them to keep the job that they already have.
An hilarious example of this was posted over at the always excellent, (but lately a bit silent), Oilfield expat, when the CEO of Total published an article on Linkedin about his own industry. My personal favorite response in the comments was this one:
The Oilfield expat’s comment was brilliant:
Sire? He’s been watching too much Game of Thrones.
The other day I discovered a linkedin article called The importance of sucking at a new job for a year or two. The author, one Ross McCammon, is convinced that failure is bad and sucking is good. The theme of the article is that “… failure is awful and expensive. It’s devastating. Failure teaches you nothing. You should not consider “failure” a positive outcome. Not early. Not often. Not ever, if you can help it …”
His bolding not mine.
McCammon’s brilliant idea is that instead of failing you need to suck. For a long time. Two years is a pretty fair time frame as far he is concerned. You need to make lots and lots of mistakes, turn in shitty substandard work, and let your boss go through it with a fine tooth comb to extract the very meager kernels of goodness that exist there, hidden away from all but the most dedicated eyes.
He thinks that while failing is expensive, sucking for a year or two at your job, the job that your employer actually pays you to do, is not expensive at all. It’s simply awesome.
Ross McCammon obviously has this bare-assed backwards. He is the sort of boss that millennials would just love.
You’re supposed to do bad work. Everyone wants you to do bad work. Everyone.
Your boss wants you to get it out of your system and learn what not to do. He’s certainly expecting it.
For two years? Is this guy high?
And your peers want you to make mistakes too. Either they understand the value of a fearless colleague or they just want to feel superior…if they even notice.
Now he’s definitely high. If a worker is making lots of mistakes then the slack will have to be taken up by other people, most probably his peers. Which means more work for them. How is this a good thing? Please explain this to us in simple language that even a millennial could understand. The only reason your peers would be happy for you to suck at your job is because they hate you and want to see you get fired.
So let me set you all straight. Failing, while not desirable, is much better than sucking. Failing means you set your sights high and gave it all you had, but you didn’t pull it off this time. Or failing means that you put in no effort at all and you got your just deserts. Sucking means that you put in just enough effort to get by, or perhaps not even that. Sucking is a long drawn out slow death that infects everyone else for the considerable period that you suck, in this case up to two years apparently. Failing is a giant supernova flame-out from which you hopefully learn some lessons so that you can do better next time.
Here’s a little tip. When you get a job, when you go to work for someone, they are paying you money. If it’s a small business or a start-up you may well be in the position where you are getting paid but your boss isn’t getting any money at all. Most business owners go unpaid for the first few years if they want to succeed. It’s the short term pain they take in order to get the long term gain if it pays off.
So your goal when you get a job is to start making money for your boss as soon as possible. Billable hours. If you are making your boss money then you are living up to your side of the bargain. If you have to learn on the job and you are starting from scratch then you need to talk to your colleagues and work out what is a reasonable time period for you to achieve this objective. I’ve worked at jobs where it was two weeks. I’ve worked at jobs where it was three months.
But a year? Two years? That’s just a big pile of steaming suck. And I’d rather fail than suck. So should you as well.