Hackernoon logoThe litmus test to know the impact you are making at work by@tarun_kohli

The litmus test to know the impact you are making at work

Tarun Kohli Hacker Noon profile picture

@tarun_kohliTarun Kohli

Founder & CEO

No, it isn’t related to your compensation or job title.

We measure our jobs through the impact it creates. And to measure that impact, we start monitoring the change in our titles when compared to our peers, our compensation as benchmarked by the industry, the number of appreciations, or any other reasonable metric created by our organization.

All of them collectively make mini moments-of-truth of your impact in an organization. But the true litmus test is when you gather the courage to talk about moving on with your manager. There are few possible scenarios of how this conversation might flow -

#1 The manager’s sudden cardiac arrest

#2 A few nerve-wrecking moments followed by a conversation to get into the depth of “what caused this move and what can be done to mitigate it?”

#3 After a few formalities, a conversation that immediately jumps to deciding your last date with the organization.

#4 The manager doesn’t even blink her eyes, talks about the Plan B, and decides the last date for you

Scenario #1 and #2 are manifestation of the value you are creating. Perhaps the organization couldn’t make you realize the importance of your contributions and that’s why you started looking for jobs. If this was the only reason then a transparent discussion can easily solve this problem rather than you moving on.

Scenario #3 and #4 are terrible. Probably she wanted you to leave but didn’t have the courage to express it. And now that you said it, she was thankful for it and wants it to be finally over. These are a clear sign that you were under-performing. I understand that your views may differ and in that case (again) I believe you can have a transparent discussion. Perhaps there was a gap in expectation setting.

But, let’s for a moment set all this aside and look at who would lose the most from you walking away? You or your manager?

Well, the answer is- your manager.

She would have to take scores of interview to fill your position; would have to spend days, weeks and months to make the new person understand and align with the organizational culture; would have the uphill task to plan and execute the training ramp-up of a new person. Basically, she would invest a gazillion hours of her life to build a new relationship all over again.

So, logically- if you were creating tremendous value, why would your manager want to go through such an ordeal? She wouldn’t want to, right? Heck, you wouldn’t want to, if you were in her position.

So my point is- if you think you are conscientious; take your work seriously, want to create value in this world then it’s a worthwhile exercise to explore why your manager welcomes the thought of you moving on to a new job.

Because, let’s face it- there isn’t any point in moving to a new job with your not-so-great execution skills. If you couldn’t create value in your current job, then there is a chance that you might not be able to do so in the next one either. Here’s what you can do instead -

  1. Ask your manager what skills you need to develop further to start creating a positive impact.
  2. Are there any behavior patterns that you need to work on to create a positive experience for the team?
  3. Share your reasons (or, claim to fame) why she might have had a cardiac arrest after hearing the news of you moving on, and then have her respond to those claims. Maybe, just maybe, you find out that your ‘claim to fame’ weren’t really that big of a deal.

You should do all or some of the above only when you thought you were doing a kick-ass job while your manager thought there was a vast room for improvement. And, if you were doing a suboptimal job on purpose (which I fail to understand why anyone would), then you must move on quickly. Life is too short to waste on jobs that you don’t like.

Also, I’m not suggesting you should take everything on the face value that your manager suggests. But have the conversation to understand a different perspective of your contributions, reflect on it, deliberate on it, and if possible, learn from it.

Don’t want the resignation drama? Still want to know your impact?

I would suggest you to do the ‘Keeper’s Test’. The test is simple and has been made popular by Netflix.

Every few months, you could ask your manager a hypothetical question- “If I say that I am moving on then how hard would you fight to change my mind?

It’s a difficult conversation but can be uplifting if done transparently and thoughtfully.

After all, in the end, you are the only one who is going to benefit from it. Thus, it’s in one’s best interest to indulge in that kind of conversation.


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