Recently a LinkedIn contact had a good article about ‘ageism’ in the workplace and its impact on military veterans entering the workforce.
While workplace ageism bias is typically seen as a negative toward more ‘seasoned’ folk, this article suggested that younger hires, and especially military veterans, are often negatively impacted because they demonstrate too much urgency, are overly focused on making an impact, and are moving too fast for the work environment.
This interesting article made me think about ‘fit’.
A wise mentor has long advised that people get hired for two reasons:
- They’ve done what the employer needs done successfully, recently
- The hiring manager ‘likes’ them. (They ‘fit’ in the culture and are likely to get along with the team.)
While ‘fit’ has many dimensions, I’ll suggest that ‘optempo’ – the speed/pace at which the situation and people move – is a significant concern that, if mis-aligned, can derail one’s career transition and longer-term employment success.
Every person, organization, circumstance and job has a particular ‘optempo’.
- Chess is played at a certain speed. As is hockey.
- Police on long term surveillance move at a different optemp than those in hot pursuit.
- Workplace optempo for a research scientist is clearly different than an emergency responder’s.
Do you know your personal optempo? Do you tend to be a fast paced, multi-tasker? Or are you more so slower-paced and methodical? Where do you do your best work? Where are you most comfortable?
What about the general optempo of the industry/career field that interests you? Is it a faced-paced, dynamic environment? Or is it perhaps more stable, predictable, and slow-to-change.
Beyond this, how does your optempo compare to that of the particular organization/company you are seeking to join? Is this a fast moving, growing company with high aspirations and high energy? Or is it a more mature company that is established in its ways, perhaps a bit comfortable and happy to ride the wave of its previous success?
And finally, what about the optempo of the specific job for which you might apply?
Fast or slow, dynamic or static, multi-tasking or focused – in and of themselves these are neither right nor wrong.
The challenge comes when your optempo doesn’t align with the optempo of the others.
If mis-aligned you will find yourself either ahead or behind the power curve, restrained by the bridle of others’ slower pace or stung by the drivers' crop as they push you to move faster.
As you consider your career transition do your homework. Consider your optempo. Look at the industries, companies and jobs that best align. Make informed choices and take actions that will optimize your success.
If you'd like more information or are considering a transition coach feel free to reach out to me here or on LinkedIn.