My first few months at Multiplitaxion Inc were depressing. I was being assigned to every random assignment; ranging from document formatting to reverse engineering. I was working for peanuts; on assignments that no-one else would work on and I was literally slogging.
Floating in the email trails of the organizational mailing list were emails from a genuine builder which would cheer me up. Every once in a while with no reference to the context a message would land up in my mailbox that would have an inspirational proverb:
When the work you do is low and the rewards are few. Remember that the mighty Oak was once a nut like you.
At other times when you received no promotion after a year full of slogging and three successful projects; things would get a little frustrating.
There were moments when I would genuinely wonder if I was wasting my time with an organization that would never be able to understand and utilize my core competencies.
What the 'nerd' in me was doing in difficult times like this can be best described an interesting anecdote one of managers back then told me:
The Olive tree is fairly interesting. For months after planting it you hardly see anything growing. You feel like its growth is slower than practically any other tree out there. Then something happens --- The tree shoots and grows faster than any other tree. What the Olive tree is doing during the period of its seemingly slow growth is simple --- it is developing deeper roots that will help it grow really fast when it starts to shoot up.
The Olive tree is fairly interesting. For months after planting it you hardly see anything growing. You feel like its growth is slower than practically any other tree out there.
Then something happens --- The tree shoots and grows faster than any other tree.
What the Olive tree is doing during the period of its seemingly slow growth is simple --- it is developing deeper roots that will help it grow really fast when it starts to shoot up.
Besides moving from one task to another without complaining out loud --- An act that was slowly starting to turn me into a one-man-army --- what was also happening in my life during those difficult times was that I was developing deeper organizational roots.
Today; as I observe young but genuine builders-in-the-making function within multiple organizations and grow; the whole idea of continuing to 'show up' consistently and developing deeper roots seems like well formed approach most builders take during their incubation period.
While whiners around the world continue to loop in the infinite loop of failure genuine builders make dents in the universe by settling down; developing deeper roots within the culture chart of the organization and then brining about change.
Seed Engineers In The Making
Jack is a young and budding engineer giving hours of hard work. He is smart and is always up to something interesting. A little rebellious; a little unhappy --- but never whining; Jack continues to show up day after day; adapt and constantly strive to bring about change.
Make him work with an asshole sitting higher up in the pecking order of the organization and Jack will morph and hibernate.
Then; when its safe; Jack with attempt to bring about change again.
Observe Jack closely --- because Jack is your seed engineer.
Work hard to give newer challenges to him; pair him up with a couple of genuine builders so that he blossoms well over time.
Put simply; give him an environment where does not lose his x-factor over time and emerges to be your seed engineer for tomorrow.
I wish you good luck.
Note: This article is a part of a Work In Progress Book. To Read connected articles read the Builders At Work category of this blog.