Posted tagged ‘000 hours’

The 10,000 hour question

May 1, 2012

Is there room for ambition for a generalist in local government?

One of my blogging colleagues wrote recently about the struggles they were having when they felt for a while as if they were off form. They raised a number of very interesting questions;

“Am I working any less hard than usual? Nope. Am I trying to perform poorly? Certainly not. Is there an obvious reason why my performance isn’t quite up to the standard I want it to be? Not that I can think of.

Indeed, I can’t even think of an obvious reason for why this is happening (although as always there are a number of possible factors; some serious, some really not).”

After a few days away over the Easter holidays my feelings are somewhat akin to these, feelings which I never thought would hit me this side of retirement and with so much laying ahead: I’ve realised that increasingly I yearn for a simpler life. The ambition which drove me so hard for so long is fading, and I’m finding myself happier than I have ever been to settle for what I have now and seeing out my career in relative peace.

As was also discussed, ambition can be seen as both a positive and a negative. It drives us to deliver the best services we can, to improve ourselves and to do the best for our residents. However, it can also lead us to making mistakes in the name of chasing success, of profiting from others misfortunes and putting ourselves above others to get to where we need to go.

We are lucky enough to have some readers who comment on our musings, either below the posts or via Twitter (@welovelocalgov), and it was brought up in one such comment that there is a perception that all ambitious people aspire to be managers; this wasn’t exactly what we were saying. Ambition is about being the best you can be, and for some that does mean being managers. As another generalist (sort of) I’ve always considered that one of the skills I have is bringing the best out of others. In order ot be the best I can be therefore I feel I need to manage others and help them to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. My ambition is therefore in part achieved through the work of others. (more…)