The League of Extraordinary Employees

William was raised to always give his best, whether at work or at play. His dad was an Army officer and his mum a Civil Servant and they taught him about the dignity in labour. He knew that giving 110% was the least he could do; not because he wanted a reward, but because of the personal satisfaction that comes with knowing you have given it your best shot.

When he got his first job, he was only required to work 8am-5pm with 1hour break in-between; however, his workload demanded more and being who he was, he chose to rise to the task. He came up with a plan – he figured since he got to work at 7am, it was wise to get right to work, instead of faffing around. Also, since he was trying to avoid rush hour traffic he got some more work done after close of business. This attitude was misinterpreted by his colleagues as ‘playing to the gallery’. One of them told him that ‘if work can finish; we would all be on a fixed term contract, take a chill pill’.

When the appraisal feedback was publicised and William was not promoted, the mockery took on new dimensions. He was teased and taunted for weeks. He began question his ‘Obsessive Compulsive need to do the right thing and give so much to an organisation that didn’t even recognise his efforts. It was a dark period for him.

One morning, while he was throwing himself a pity-party, it dawned on him that his parents worked so hard to teach and show him good work ethics. It was not always about the rewards, but going to bed knowing that all that could be done, was done. Working the way he did was more about building his character, than any form of recognition possible. Armed with a zeal to succeed, William resumed his routine and even encouraged others to join him. His colleagues were confused at his refusal to become like them (complacent).

One morning the MD called a meeting and asked for a volunteer to work with their Business Consultant – it was going to involve hard work and long hours, as usual William raised his hand. At the end of the project; 17 weeks later, the Consultant gave William two options – a letter of commendation or a job offer. The decision was made swiftly, as he found out he had a ‘thing’ for consulting.

Now, seven years down the line, William is a successful Business Consultant, with his eyes set on becoming a partner in one of the big four Consulting Firms.

The road to success may not always be clear; but one thing you can be sure of is that it involves – hardwork, persistence and a journey to self discovery. Others may not necessarily understand your motivation; this is not an excuse to become complacent – energize them or let them watch you thrive.

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