Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I often forget that the expectations I have of myself are VERY different from the expectations others have of themselves.

When I was at high school I enjoyed science. I enjoyed it enough that I took 2 science classes back while doing School Certificate (Science and Biology). It was indicated that we were expected to enter a science competition (essentially an exam) - which I did. When I got the results, I was embarrassed. The mark wasn't great (somewhere between 60-70%). I had struggled a little bit with it and had run out of time. I didn't let anyone see my result as I had felt I had let myself down. The funny bit though - I ended up with a certificate at an assembly for it. I was in the top 25 percentile.

While I was working at New Zealand Couriers, I was quite happy to spend a little extra time on a call if I could get a situation sorted out.

There was one morning where my first call of the day was a weeper. Fortunately it wasn't me who had caused the weepiness. (I did cause a couple of weepers during my time). The woman's boss had had a death in the family. The family were on holiday and needed to be at the funeral the following day so their clothes HAD to get to them (Auckland to Taupo). She asked me to keep track of where the package was. So I kept track of it, was able to work out where it had gotten stuck (Hamilton), got it redirected to where the funeral was being held so that it could be picked up the morning as soon as they'd gotten off their flight in time for the Funeral.

I thought I had done a pretty good job. I had taken the situation, done exactly as I told the customer I would do, kept her and my team leader apprised of the situation, and communicated with the depots involved. This I took as part of my job. (Unfortunately, it wasn't. I got raked over the coals over it even though the customer was thankful. Apparently I was supposed to hand it off and carry on trying to get people off the phones even though I had let my team leader know what I was up to).

But that's an example of the sort of standards I hold myself to. It's nothing. It's just what I'm being paid to do. That's it. I'm fairly humble about it. If I'm paid to do data entry, I will consider it part of my job to see that other data entry people are on the same page, and involve myself in the validation of that data (my first temping job, I was placed in charge of the other temps on the job - all of which had been temping for years) as well as being paid an extra couple of hours on top of what I had earnt as a bonus for sticking around and helping validate the data.

The problem with this, because I have much higher expectations of myself, is that I don't advertise myself.

What did I do for 2 years in Hamilton? I worked at a factory. Never mind the fact that as well as the data entry role I was paid for, I wrote up documentation for all of the jobs in the factory, formulated a way to quantify the performance (vs. errors) of staff members (making pay reviews a breeze) and was able to use those figures to suggest ways which those errors could be reduced and ended up being essentially a P.A. to the factory manager.

But, then, I considered all of that my job. I was paid to do data entry. That other stuff was just to stop me from getting bored. That extra stuff certainly wasn't anything to emphasise. That's not what I was being paid for.

Given that I've been struggling with money (and employment) for a fair few years now, you have to wonder. Are employers actually getting the best people they can? Is this insistence from employment agencies to try and shove everyone into a box actually getting businesses the right people? Is the whole interviewing process horribly flawed?

If I had interviewed for a job doing what I'm doing for Manaiakalani, would I have gotten the job? Would I have been called in for an interview had I sent in my CV?

Definitely something to think about :/

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