Is The Story Of The Little Dutch Boy Actually The Story Of Your Career?

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY ME IN THE FORMER COOL CORPORATE DOT COM BLOG

Does your career follow a warped version of the story of the Little Dutch Boy?

The Cliff Notes Version of the Little Dutch Boy has a hole in a dike that was threatening to burst, and little boy walks up an sticks his finger in the hole and shores up the dike with the simple act…a decision that is a little tough because it makes him late for school, which will get him in trouble. Eventually, some passerby sees the boy, and brings back help to fix the dike. The story is told to teach quick action and self-sacrifice, because if the boy leaves, the dike is back in the same peril that it was in before, and he has no guarantee that help is on the way.

Switch the story to an analogy of your career. Were you on your way to something bigger and brighter, came across a problem that you could offer up a quick fix, and then got stuck supporting your quick fix forever? In real world work, sometimes the people whose job it is to actually fix things will do everything in their power to go nowhere near the problem, sticking you with your quick fix approaches, and bogging you down with unresolved issues that keep you from accomplishing bigger goals and moving forward.

I believe you have three ways to approach this problem:

1: JUST DON’T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE: If it’s not your problem, its not your problem, and don’t lift a finger (pun intended) to fix it.

2: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE FOR A WHILE, THEN TAKE IT OUT AND DEMAND ACTION: Save the company for just a little while, figure out what the real problem is, then kill your quick fix and get in the faces of those who have the responsibility to fix it, and make sure they fix it.

3: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE, AND PRAY THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING ON THERE OWN: …which probably won’t happen…but a little faith might help…

When I came across the idea for this post, I knew I was going to be short on answers, but I hope that just putting the thought out there will help those stuck ‘with their finger in the dike’ to get a better picture of their current situation, and find a way out of it.


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