The problem is on the paper

Categories Thoughts on business

The modern workplace is a tricky thing. I think much gets said about the changing workforce, the good ol’ millennial discussion, but not much gets discussed about how the workplace has changed and how this impacts advancement and satisfaction. 

I hear it all the time “My job description means nothing, I do so much”

The modern workplace requires an individual to go over and above their nine to five. Some organisations go as far as to incentivise it, calling it stretch. I’ve often been asked about my stretch in a performance discussion or two. So, theoretically, if the entire organisation is stretching into roles they aren’t qualified for then, again theoretically, there could be a point where the entire organisation is incompetent. This is part of the Peter Principle. 

The Peter to Phil Principles 

The Peter Principle is thus based on the logical idea that competent employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent, and they will then remain in those positions because of the fact that they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion. According to the Peter Principle, every position in a given hierarchy will eventually be filled by employees who are incompetent to fulfill the job duties of their respective positions.

Let’s look to the post-Peter stage, we’ll call this the Phil Principle (if you get this reference, contact me and I will give you a massive high five). So if everyone is stretching beyond incompetency, employees are performing roles that are above the role they define on paper. This leads to my trail of thought – when future employees look at your resume or curriculum vitae you could be unqualified on paper but suitably qualified in experience. It’s all really simple, future employees may snub potential employees that could be suitably to overly-qualified. 

The way around this 

We’ve identified the problem, but how do we negate this in the modern workplace? I suggest a few ways. 

  1. Be able to articulate not only what you do, but the achievements too. Brag, be specific and analytical. Your resume and CV should communicate this without making you sound like a dick.
  2. An online portfolio of sorts, artists have them so why not you. Mine is here at neilianwithers.co.za/portfolio. (I must take a second to recognise the irony here. When I wrote this last night my website crashed)

Personally, I feel that my CV is not a true indication of the work I’ve done and the value I have added to the organisations I have worked for. For this reason I am building these two up. 

References https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/peter-principle.asp