The college football season has finally come to an end! Nearly 4.5 months is just too long and I pretty much stopped watching about 2 weeks ago but not before I got an inspiration for a blog entry! The Rutgers Scarlet Knights provided that motivation but I promise you this is not a sports article.
Rutgers was well on its way to a season of historic milestones in total wins, making their first BCS bowl appearance, and perhaps having an outside chance at contending for a national championship. All of a sudden, things took a downward swing for them and their final three weeks, including a dismal performance at the Russell Athletic Bowl, were disappointing on many levels. For some unknown reason, the team that powered through opposition week after week, could not keep up their push beyond the second quarter of each of their last three games. They came out like gangbusters, leveled off in the second quarter, and simply faded into the sunset after halftime.
Over the years, I have seen this pattern with many candidates who I assisted in finding new contract employment situations. They entered their new job with a full head of steam, overachieving in every aspect of the job. After about 3 or 4 weeks, the word on the street is they seemed to lose energy and, while still competent, were not excelling any more. After a few months, any chance of converting to permanent has been eliminated, and the contract was not extended.
Why does this happen so frequently? I tend to go back to my least favorite word, entitlement. All too many people seem to believe that once they are in the door and work hard for a short period they are entitled to all the perks available to them without continuing to go that extra mile. Gainful employment, whether it be as a short term temp, contractor with potential to go permanent, or as a full time employee is granted as a privilege at the will of the employer.
Unless you are are willing to demonstrate a willingness to do excellent work at all times, every single day, you run the risk of losing that privilege. This has always been the same general rule to succeed, but the need to play hard for all four quarters is even more critical in a challenging economic environment.