Saturday, June 1, 2019

Ready to Jump Ship? Wait! Know Your Real Friends – Finally!

You are a superstar. You have a few years of quality post-graduation experience under your belt. But you are not the laid-back kind; you want lot more from your talent, leveraging your background in advanced Applied Math. Lately, you have been spending many evenings and weekends working on a super duper scientific application that will homogeneous the food habits of humans across all major cultures and around the globe. You have also come to the conclusion that the person inventing the applied science leading to humans’ common cuisine will be the first trillionaire. Granted, the vast majority of the current billionaires will agree with you, perhaps regretting that they took a much safer IT route. The good news is, they are now way too involved in their business to compete with you anymore.

Now that you have decided to quit your job and give your concept a full-time go, you should finally know who your real friends are at your workplace. You can apply the same logic to your prior workplaces too. Meanwhile, don’t make too much splash until you patent your know-how, including the algorithm.

This post is not about making a value judgment as to whether you are (financially) ready to take the leap; instead, this post is offered to help you understand and identify who your real friends are.

As long as you are part of the system, you are always under the impression that the people around you are all your friends. Not really! Now is the time you will figure out who your real friends are. Given your near-perfect IQ, you will see that there are four clearing emerging groups. The first two groups comprise the largest population, followed by the two much smaller ones. In fact, the fourth emerging group comprises a handful, perhaps fewer.

Okay, let’s end the suspense!

Group 1: Those who have been Encouraging you to become an Entrepreneur – These are the folks who have been encouraging you to become an entrepreneur by constantly reminding you, “You are too brilliant to waste your life here.” These are generally the most average people who are threatened by your presence. That is a basic characteristic of the average at workplaces. They do not like the presence of a superstar. They fake up in their minds that their performance is constantly being compared with yours, though you know it quite well that that’s never been the case. In fact, it’s the other way around: Your presence not only protects them but, in fact, helps them improve their overall efficiency level. Now that they know you are on your way out, they are extremely relieved, perhaps ending their worst nightmares. Wherever you meet them – by the watercolor, at the lunch table, in the elevator, etc. – they will congratulate you, not once or twice, but over and over again. These folks are neither your friends nor your well-wishers. Of course, you will expect the same from an over-rated boss and average peers, often broadening the base of this group. At the end, you will be inundated with their contact information. You just have to write them off and toss their info on to the first trash can outside of your office building. Try not to use such average bosses and peers as references as they often go on a mindless rant confusing the counterparty.

Group 2: Those who are Openly Congratulating You – Invariably, this is going to be the largest group. These are also very average people who, deep down, are either very uncomfortable or are moderately threatened by your presence. While these folks will not directly encourage you to leave but your resignation will be welcome news to them. Obviously, they do not like the presence of a superstar either, but they tend to be less aggressive and proactive in getting rid of a superstar than the prior group. Of course, they will also congratulate you upon each and every face-to-face encounter till you leave. This group will also take the maximum initiative in arranging your farewell party (and what not), which has nothing to do with any gratitude or respect for your contribution to their general upliftment, but to simply celebrate their final liberation from their hysterical mindset. Needless to say, while the prior group is more like your enemy, this group is neither your friend nor your well-wisher. Again, you will be inundated with their contact information. Just toss them.

You will still hear from these two groups initially (as the free hand-holding suddenly ends) but not for too long. After your departure, departmental expectations will take a nose dive, paving the way for their favorite consultants and vendors to return and take over. Of course, your departure will make these outsiders as ecstatic as their inside counterparts. The lost paradise has been regained. Happy days are here again!

Group 3: Those who are trying to Talk you Out of it – While this tends to be a small group of smart people, they are not yet fully convinced that you are ready for the plunge. They are worried that it’s premature and you might be in serious financial trouble down the road. These folks usually go to the extent of convincing you to defer the departure until you line up some financing as an alternative way of validating of your concept.  Some will even mobilize their successful contacts and arrange for you to meet them to retest your overarching self-belief. Out of the deep sadness of losing an outstanding employee and a great mentor, they won’t be too forthcoming with their contact information. In fact, until the last day they will remain optimistic that there could be a change of heart. Either way, these are your good friends and stay in touch. They will be calling you from time to time, expecting exponentially growing good news from you and they will always be proud of your achievements. That’s how the great hearts bind into a larger than life group.

Group 4: Those who are Talking to your Boss to Hold You Back – A handful of people, often fewer, in your department will be frantically chasing and trying to talk to your boss to somehow hold you back. Unlike the Group-3, these people are not only concerned about your personal well-being, they are also deeply alarmed at the thought that the department would be losing its hero. Sometimes they go this extra mile by risking their own future. Case in point: When the boss is of the average kind, he would love to see you leave, heaving a big sigh of relief. When these folks approach such a boss with this plea, they unknowingly jeopardize or sacrifice their own future. Of course, to them, the overall good is lot more important than their own future. It is part and parcel of their nature so they will repeat it all through their lives. These are generally the future superstars too. Have you ever wondered why the above average folks are so much more successful at workplaces than the truly brilliant ones? The above average ones follow the proven format while the truly brilliant ones could care less, usually walking away from the herd. Anyway, these are your best friends. They are very few and far between. In poor counties, people even sell blood to bail out their best friends.

Going forward, your pay check stops so stay focused and stick to your mission. You will soon be there. When you become the first trillionaire, just remember some of your friends perhaps silently sacrificed their future to see you become successful. 

For now, just know who your true friends are!

Good Luck!

Sid Som
President, Homequant, Inc.
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