Sunday, April 8, 2012

Is being just a bid better than others good enough?

A bid more than ten years ago, my boss, who was head of portfolio management division of a big Swiss bank, told me his finding for a successful career. “You only have to be a bid better than others". Hearing this statement I was consternated and I totally disagreed. By no means I wanted to advance in my career just being a bid better than others.
Looking back now, was my boss right? Yes he was. If one’s first priority is to have a nice career and achieve a good title and salary (nothing wrong with that), then he was right. What comes along with this approach though is that you need to know when you should not speak up, that you should not criticize the wrong people and not oppose too much.
…and he was wrong too
To me a title is not an achievement. Most of the time a title is eventually something that comes along, if you achieve great things and if you bring a lot of value to your company. It occasionally also comes along without great achievements though.
Back then I decided, that I always wanted to choose a job where I could be significantly better than others. As a consequence it so happened that I even quit jobs, because I got to the point where I felt, that in the current environment I could not perform at my best anymore, and I have become only average. Looking back now I certainly did not choose the easiest way.  I always have been looking out for challenges and yes challenges have been assigned to me, mostly sooner and bigger ones than I had expected. It has been extremely exciting and satisfying to deal with these challenges.  Above all it felt great, because I have been choosing positions where I could make the most of my knowledge and my experience and where I could perform at my best.  
All of the gentlemen on the top Mr. Thomas Borer, Konrad Hummler, Ossi Gruebel, Christoph Blocher and Philipp Hildebrand have been significantly above average. They have been leaders, who did not care too much for what is the best for a smooth career but did what they felt is right. To me, this is definitely worthwhile and being just a bid better than others is just not enough, can’t be enough.

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