Don’t let the grass grow under your feet!

There could be little worse than getting passed over for a promotion that you had your heart set on, and it happened recently to the son of a colleague. However his reaction to the setback was probably an object lesson for many young people, whether about to
enter or relatively new to the workforce, so, with his encouragement, I’m sharing it with you.
One of the difficult things for young people, according to (let’s give him a name shall we?) Ahmed (not his real name), is that they have so little exposure to the workplace, any workplace, that they “don’t know what they want.” Who can blame them?
In many societies even school kids, let alone secondary and higher education students, have ‘after school’ jobs that get them ‘pocket money,’ but more than that they learn how to interact with others, and the necessity to respond
effectively to every single one of those interactions.
The end result of this early workplace experience is that you learn to follow everything through to a conclusion, and to understand that the words “no problem,” mean no further problem for the colleague or customer, not you! Memory, taking notes, finishing tasks, and communicating effectively are life and work skills honed, in most societies, during your teens.
Ahmed explained that he considered he was fortunate just to get a job, and didn’t care that it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, it would do. So he went to work everyday and did what he thought was his job. He was supervised, but as he put it, very loosely and was largely left to his own devices.
His job was simple he said, dealing with customer complaints initially, and progressing to stock control. He never really knew what happened to the customer complaints when he was in that department, but passed them on, and in stock control, along with two others, he had floor staff that did the stock checks, while orders were largely computer generated. It was simple alright!
After two years, his immediate supervisor announced he was retiring, and in-house applicants would have the inside running for his job. Ahmed was excited, he is a pleasant lad, articulate with great English language skills and tidy, and as the next longest serving in the office faced the interview process with no little confidence and anticipation.
Interview day saw him excited, and a three man panel faced him, with all going well until he was asked to briefly “explain your role and responsibilities, within the company structure?” He (as he put it) “got through that,” and then (his words again), “crashed and burned” when he was asked for the company representative/ordering days, and delivery days, for three significant suppliers. He knew he had been caught (still his words), Long story short, Ahmed lost out to a workmate with only a few months on the job, but who had already gained significant understanding of the delivery functions of one of their suppliers, by spending time in the warehouse, stockroom, and loading bank, asking lots of questions and ‘knowing’ how his job ‘worked.’
He had also enrolled in an internet Logistics Course.
So what was Ahmed’s lesson, and advice? Well, he, for one has a much greater appreciation of how much better he needs to know his job, his place in the ‘greater scheme’ of the company, and the retail industry.
Insisting he’s not bitter, he’s now working with his company’s human resources team to up skill himself, for the next opportunity that comes along.
He’s grown, since the setback, to embrace and enjoy his job now, seeing it as a career more than work, and his key advice for others? CPD. Three little letters. “My advice is, if you’re serious, do some continuous professional development (CPD). Don’t stand still, don’t let the grass grow under your feet, or you will go nowhere!” His is a solid
message for young people entering the workplace, a message, not of admonishment, but encouragement.