Friday, September 12, 2008

Seniority

It is one of the great misconceptions of life that leads us to believe that we are deserving of position and title because of our seniority status within a certain environment. This misconception leads us to rest on seeking achievement because we believe that experience will enable us to advance despite our inability to continue to produce results. Because of this belief, better qualified and better prepared people are passed over only to move on and generate greater results within an environment outside of the one we reside in.

Status according to greater age, higher rank, or longer service (aka seniority) means nothing when it comes to advancement. In a world where reality should create rule, we are looking to the wrong area when we look to promote or advance those within the environments we reside based on senior status. To set the record straight, length of service is not an indicator of qualification, all it means is that you have endured longer than others. Your ability to endure does not make you the right person for what you seek and does not entitle you to privileges you have not earned.

In every facet of life, length of service does not qualify you as the best candidate. Just because you are the older parent does not mean that you are the better parent, being the longest serving employee does not mean you are the best employee, and being the oldest of the group does not mean you have the most knowledge. The greatest indicator of your ability is in your ability, no strings attached.

Yet we have created a world of self entitlement where we believe that we are deserving of position because we are the senior person within our environment. This belief of self entitlement is strong, so strong that we continually see businesses, teams, and families stay stagnant because of a hierarchy based on seniority and not on skill set. Within this hierarchy we are ultimately disempowering those that are capable of displaying the skill set and knowledge necessary to take us to the next level of success.

If you want to see a successful environment, look at an environment that promotes achievement over any other qualifier. Their success is no mystery; they reward achievement above tenure and celebrate success over seniority. Successful environments don’t waste time on people who believe that their length of service qualifies them as the best fit; they look at people who have put in the most time and ask them why they have remained in the same place for so long.

If you are the person who is waiting for your chance at advancement, know that you are not acting on patience, you have become stagnant. If you are the person who believes that your senior status within your environment will produce results, know that someone more eager than you does not care that you have been there longer; they only care that they will outwork you and that it will be noticed. If you are the person that believes seniority means you posses more knowledge, then get comfortable where you are because you will not be moving anytime soon, that is if your environment cares more about success than it does blind loyalty.

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