We are looking for a candidate with the following work qualifications: Hard-working, self-starting, multi-tasking team player who seeks and gains consensus from team members, and brings a passion to the position.
Oh, is that all?
A cursory reading of the above job ad seems to make sense. But upon closer inspection, what are all these work qualifications the ad calls for?
A multi-tasker? How does one know if he/she is a multi-tasker? And if you are one, is it better or worse than bringing “a passion to the position?”
Wait, isn’t there scientific evidence that states people cannot multi-task?
Why yes, there is.
Which begs the question, if multitasking does not exist, why does the ad request it? What other work qualifications in the ad are questionable?
Below are potentially over-rated, yet frequently requested, work qualifications.
Since when does true work performance get better when juggling multiple projects versus focusing on one project at a time. One can focus on several projects at different times in the day, but working on multiple projects at the same exact time seems that it would lead to very poor results.
When you focus on one task, both sides of the prefrontal cortex work as a team. When you multitask, each side of the prefrontal cortex attempts to work separately.
You may think you are doing two things at once, but you are simply switching between each side of your brain. This switch is quick, but it adds up. It may take you up to 40 percent longer to complete simultaneous tasks than if you were to focus on them individually.
Employees want to be heard; they want to feel their opinion counts. Therefore, consensus building is one work qualification that addresses the needs of employees.
There is even a book that discusses the wisdom of crowds in decision making.
However, many people believe that strong decision making involves narrowing poor options. And with consensus, that means disappointing someone.
This theory believes consensus favors the average and vanilla, never the innovative, and risky.
Jason Selk is author of Organize Tomorrow Today, which helps readers stop being busy and start being productive.
Mr. Selk has a problem with hard work as a work qualification. He believes this qualification to be one of the most over-rated business concepts out there because working smart, not hard, is productive.
He states “Every human being has the same number of hours at his or her disposal per day. It is not how much a person can get done within those hours, but what a person can get done. I have seen so many people exhaust themselves completing tasks that have little to no impact on their success.”
Successful people cannot get everything done in the span of one day, but they get the most important things done each and every day.
Passion for your Work
Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs had interesting advice for graduates in a video commencement speech: “Don’t follow your passion.”
He gained his knowledge from his show on Discovery Channel.
“When people follow their passion, they miss out on all kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed.”
Rowe has met hundreds of people “who followed opportunity, not passion, and prospered as a result.”
A team of psychologists at the University of Michigan provided new insights into the relationship between passion and work.
The team found that around 70 percent of people believed passion is about matching a personally rewarding skill with work that uses this skill.
The other 30 percent believed that passion for a type of work develops over time.
The job ad that opened this piece apparently was not interested in people who may develop passion.
Future Work Success Is Hard To Quantify
Some of these work qualifications considered over-rated may surprise some, however they probably should not. Especially when you look around and see the number of successful people who lack the above work qualifications, but seem to be excelling at their jobs nonetheless.
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