A tale of two ostriches is about two people who confused personal development with ambition.
Time to get your head out of the sand!
Esther is 45. She has worked for the same company for 15 years. She enjoys her job as a middle management customer service supervisor which is varied and demanding. Her family is her priority and is a wife and mother of three children. She values her privacy, so is not on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media which she considers to be “silly” and intrusive. She has a close circle of friends who are all her peers. The focus of her personal development is outside the office where she regularly takes classes on cookery, Italian and photography. She almost never goes to any professional networking events, conferences or courses, either online or actual because she likes to get home to the kids. Plus as she says, she is not “ambitious.”
Three months ago her husband told her he wanted a divorce. Six weeks later her boss resigned and his replacement is implementing a re-structuring exercise. Esther’s position will disappear.
Hugues is 50. He works as a Procurement Manager based in the production unit of an international packaging company located within a stone’s throw of the Alps. He has 22 years service. His passion is climbing and every spare moment is devoted to trips and preparing for them. He is very active in local schools and youth groups, training young climbers about safety procedures. He is a volunteer on the local Mountain Rescue Squad.
As a long serving employee he is regarded as being solid within the organisation with a good understanding of the subtext of all the office politics and considered to be the “go-to” person to get things done outside the system. He has turned down promotion and the opportunity to learn English because he doesn’t want to re-locate to the H.Q. in Paris and take on the travel commitments involved in a more senior, regional role. The nearest mountain is also possibly three hours away. He is completely happy where he is and does not consider himself to be “ambitious.”
In January Hugues’ company was taken over (swallowed up really) and the procurement function has been centralised in Ireland.
Esther and Hugues have had their heads in the sand for a very long time. They made a major mistake and confused personal development with ambition.
The moral of these two stories
What Esther and Hugues learned the hard way is:
- Complacency is not a safe place to be.
- Security does not exist.
- Be prepared.
- Be up to date.
- Have a flight plan.
What would you add?
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