When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch- 22, I'm tempted to reply, ‘Who has?’”
— Joseph Heller, 1923-1999
That pithy quote by the novelist who so deftly defined the double-bind with his “Catch-22 … the best [catch] there is” makes a cogent argument for resting on one's laurels. But that thought only bears consideration if one has laurels worthy enough to rest upon! Truth be told, most of us don't and that's simply because most of us don't try hard enough to write our own success stories — at work or elsewhere for that matter.
Nope, it's almost natural to coast. It is always so much easier to stay in whatever comfort zone we may have fallen into on the job, rather than shake things up with new ways of thinking or doing.
At work, be it two or twenty years into our careers, it is very easy to do a reasonable job meeting reasonable expectations. Do that year after year and you may stay employed and even garner raises and promotions, but ultimately you will rot right into your swivel chair and become little more than a bore to everyone within earshot let alone yourself.
Indeed, it is far better once in a while if not quite often to symbolically throw the book out and try to look at all sorts of things from fresh perspectives. Throwing out the book is not meant to imply jettisoning everything that works. Rather, I would argue it means taking a fresh look at how things are done and how they could be done. It certainly suggests ditching a same-old, same-old way of tackling problems.
Consider the issue of finding enough qualified, safe and motivated drivers. Here at Fleet Owner we have preached until we have been blue in the face that trucking will never solve its driver shortage until it dramatically expands the pool from which it recruits these essential employees to include members of the nation's minority population — who have long been overlooked whether out of shortsightedness or worse.
A few years back, I was honored to moderate a session on recruiting minorities at an industry meeting whose theme was tackling the driver recruitment/retention issue. From what I could tell — from sitting in on some and reading descriptions of others — all the sessions were well worth an attendee's time.
In my humble if biased opinion, the only session that was truly innovative was the one on recruiting minorities. Yes, the other workshops did an excellent job of delving into various aspects of the issue from gauging pay and benefits to structuring an ad program, etc. But none of that information was truly new, let alone different from what has been dispensed far and wide as conventional wisdom for years. Had I not been asked to moderate that session (on the strength of a cover story I wrote on that topic), I'd like to think I'd have attended it after pegging it as the one item on the agenda that was all about breaking new ground.
The really good news is starting — or jump-starting as the case may be — your own tale of career success doesn't mean taking off from a dead stop. Especially not when you work in trucking, which is more replete with professional resources that are easy to access and free to reasonably priced than any other industry I am aware of.
So get out there, look around, kick some tires. Above all, bat some new ideas around. I guarantee you will find all the material you need to figuratively write your own best-selling story is right under your nose right now.