When Obscurity At Work Is A Good Thing

Most of us strive to be noticed by our bosses when we're first starting out at a new job. However, as 37 Signals co-founder and author Jason Fried points out, sometimes that obscurity can actually work in your favour.

Picture: Aaron Gustafson

When you're straight out of school, the natural reaction is to go all out and try to get your bosses to notice what you're doing. The problem is that you probably don't actually know what you're doing. Fried's suggestion is to embrace the obscurity that comes when you're a nobody at a new job and use it to your advantage with long-term goals:

I think obscurity is your friend when you’re just starting out. People want to get rid of the obscurity so everyone knows who they are and what they’re doing, but it’s nice to have that cushion of being able to mess up without anyone knowing or caring so that you can learn without the spotlight on you. Once the spotlight is on you, there’s a lot of pressure and you don’t need that kind of pressure early on. Take it easy, have a long-term view on things, build on little successes, and learn more before you try to go out and change the world.

It's solid advice whether you're taking on your first job or changing careers. Obviously, you don't want to dawdle away in obscurity for too long, but you'll be able to impress that new boss a lot more if you take your time on that first project. Head over to the Great Discontent for the full interview with Jason Fried.

Jason Fried [The Great Discontent via 99U]


    As long as they don't take my red stapler away, I'm ok with this

      Every day is a good day for Office Space jokes.

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