Do you consider yourself hypocritical?
In sharing an observation I will confess to you, here and now, I am a hypocrite.
Have you ever read a job advert or a job spec and thought to yourself “I could do that, I haven’t done it before but it’s very like XYZ project” or “that looks really interesting I would love to get my teeth into that” and when you’ve applied for it you were told something along the lines of either
(a) They were looking for someone who’d done it before
(b) Yes you’ve done it in X sector but they really want someone with Y sector experience
Now my admission of hypocrisy is having been on the receiving end of versions of both responses above and bemoaned the narrow minded/short sighted/safe playing individual who makes up ‘they’ in those statements, I have said the statements too….I have been ‘they’
*hangs head in shame
In reflecting on this admission, I’ve been thinking about what drove my behaviour. The reasons are numerous but the biggest reason is personal security and it’s akin to the classic statement “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”. In covering my own back I hired the person who was most acceptable to those around me and was in the context of my role, the safest choice. The people I have hired have been fantastic, delivered some awesome work and I am fortunate that none of them ever put me in the position of having to justify why I hired them but I do think about the people I dismissed from the process because they weren’t ‘IBM’
The biggest irony of all of this is I work for someone who takes exceptional risks it appointing people into roles they have not done before or outside of the sector the business operates in. You may ask how I know this and I would answer simply “me”. When I was hired into the company I currently work for I had never worked in the sector before and when 9 months in I was given considerable additional responsibilities it was for something I had never truly done before.
I am safe in praising my boss here firstly, because I have already acknowledged to them the risk they took in appointing me and secondly, because it is unlikely they will ever read this. I will however admit in taking on the initial and latter role it didn’t occur to me for a moment that my boss was spending organisational capital, taking a risk or leaving themselves open to challenge.
In considering my good fortune compared to those I have, in the interest of my own safety, possibly overlooked I do feel a hypocrite.
But am I alone or does anyone else want to try the horsehair shirt?