Why I Expect Excellence

I just came back from a work-related event, a preview for the fall line of products.

Without disclosing names of companies or people, while the event itself was fun, I was sorely disappointed to have been only one of two people from my branch who went. None of my leadership team went, and several people who would have gone either got booked into work or changed their minds.

By contrast, there were other branches who showed up in teams, who made a day of it. Their excitement level was palpable, and above all, they had spirit. I miss that. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced that.

One of the most cutting observations about my problems with work came from my ex’s new husband, back not all that long ago when we were all friends. He’d said, “we all know how it goes with you, Jody. You find a place that you’re excited about at first, but then within six months, you’re always bitching about how bad it is and you just want to leave.”

This part is true, make no mistake: that pattern is clearly on my record, and the result of me not being clear on what I’m really passionate about for so long.

That’s where it stops being my fault.

I’m an excellent worker, as I’ve said before, and I aspire to do my best no matter what it is I’m doing. If you believe in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), then this is a trait common to ENFPs (look it up). Guys like me will move the world like Archimedes to get the job done, but you can only exert that kind of energy for so long without a favourable environment.

The biggest energy killer is apathy in your work environment, certainly from your co-workers, but especially, and most critically, when it comes from your leadership. It’s why most ENFPs either become leaders of organizations they care about, or go off on their own, carve their own traces in the economic savannah.

Inevitably, with every professional enterprise I enter into, I find myself disappointed with those from whom I expected at least a comparable level of excellence to what I put in.

While I’m the first to admit that the only consistent factor in all of my past failed professional experiences is myself, still, I can’t help but defend my expectations of excellence from those I serve, and my colleagues who work alongside me. That’s not to say I don’t have my lazy days or slack off from time to time, because I do, but overall, really guys, why would you half-ass anything you committed to doing? If it’s shift work, you’re there anyway: why not do your best?

If you’re in a leadership role, then fucking LEAD. And if your followers don’t want to follow, fucking do it anyway. They’ll either come around later or find somewhere else to slack off.

Diversity can be overrated sometimes. In the past year, I’ve grown tired of always being around people who are different than me. This is common when you enter your thirties: you just want to reinforce more of who you are now. So I’ve made more friends who are like me: writers, artists, other creatives, eccentrics, and personal development junkies. It’s definitely helped, and so far, no individual that fits these categories has disappointed me to the same degree, though I am waiting for the day.

Maybe I do expect too much from the people in my life, but why shouldn’t we? Why should we expect our friends, lovers, co-workers, and bosses to be and do anything less than the best and most of who they are?

Maybe I need to start making more connections where the leadership and the crew bring a level of game equal to mine.

Anyway, I’ll end this rant after three more sentences.

I do my best to own every title – writer, actor, professional, worker, friend, leader, mentor, student – that I claim, and I suppose that brings about a subconscious expectation that others will do the same for whatever labels they choose for themselves.

When I’m at my best, and those around me don’t actually deliver as advertised, I can endure for a little while, but before long, I’m gonna need that support or I’m gone.

The appearance or continued absence of that support and energy are the best indicators I have of whether or not I have chosen my company well.

If you want to get to know me, know that I expect you to bring as much game as I do if we’re to work well together.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

(All right, six sentences, including this one.).


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