Volume 32: Finding Fulfillment Intro

RoyIn the few years that I’ve been writing these e-newsletters, we’ve covered some pretty important topics:

We spent a few months on identifying your company culture and how to ensure that your hiring and training processes are consistent with that culture.

We spent some time talking about diversity in the corrugated industry, even going so far as to hear from several minority managers in the industry and their experiences.

We spent a couple months rolling through Oberg and Associates, LLC’s three non-negotiable principles of Open and Honest Communication, Mutual Respect and Hard Results, and talked about how you can incorporate these principles into your own lives and businesses.

I even took an article earlier this year to thank my friends, candidates and clients in the industry for 20 years of fun at Oberg and Associates, LLC.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this newsletter, but I’ve never had an article stick in the back of my brain the way the last article has for three weeks.

Three weeks ago, we discussed the idea that contrary to the common perception that climbing the company ladder is the only way to be successful, there are plenty of people that can stay at one level their whole careers and consider that to be perfect success.

The concept boiled down to the fact that “the world needs ditch diggers too” is not just a consolation statement for those that are unable to climb the ladder, it’s a statement that being a ditch digger is just as honorable as the climb up the corporate ladder.

And frankly, I think this is too important a topic to leave at just one article. So many people in this country get caught working jobs they hate for years and years and years, through promotion after promotion after promotion, because they’ve been told their whole lives that that’s what they’re supposed to do.

But that path isn’t for everyone, and I think that’s an important concept to make sure we flesh out.

Three weeks ago, I talked about a 20-year leadman that has made the conscious choice to stay as a leadman, despite repeated opportunities for advancement. He has chosen the fulfillment he gets from being there whenever his kids need him, rather than the prestige, money and headache of moving up the ladder.

On the other hand, this morning I spoke with someone that isn’t happy unless he’s miserable. If a plant is running smoothly, is wildly profitable and things are going well, he just doesn’t know what to do with himself. But drop him in a plant that’s on fire? Put him in a plant with no leadership and no PM program that is hemorrhaging money daily? He’s just crazy enough to love that.

Then there’s the climber I spoke with Monday. He’s been in the industry since he was a pup and has worked his way up from Operator, to Leadman, Supervisor, Corrugator Superintendent, Plant Superintendent, all the way to Plant Manager of a monstrous facility. And he’s looking for more. He’s looking for a Regional position to be his next step.

None of these guys are remotely right or wrong, each of them has just found the path that makes them feel fulfilled.

So, we’re going to spend the next few editions of Outside the Box looking into each of these kinds of people and try to help some of you out there figure out what the best path is for you. Maybe you’re climbing faster than the Rio crime rate, and miserable. Maybe you’re stagnant and unable to figure out the next step. Maybe you’re perfectly happy. In any of these cases, we want to talk about why.

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