WAYLON JENNINGS: June 15, 1937 - February 13, 2002
Originally published February 14, 2016.
I’m at an interesting crossroads of my career. For most of my adult life, I’ve worked with a fear-based intensity, like a man trying to outrun a fire. My consistent belief was that termination was always nipping at my heels, and the only way to outpace it was to outwork everyone else. “I may not be the best,” I believed, “but nobody is going to work harder than me.” And so I spent years getting paid for 40 hours of work, but working 70, 80, 100 hours in a week. Even as I piled up “Exceeds Expectations” annual reviews and outpaced co-workers on merit increases, I was sure that one slip-up would be the end of me. It was a co-dependent nightmare, but with an unexpected result. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s writings on expertise as a by-product of 10,000 hours of practice, all of those hundreds of hours of extra work and all the all-nighters added up to a level of expertise beyond what a typical colleague would have achieved at this time. In recent months, I’ve published a book, written a couple of popular industry articles, traveled overseas to present at industry conference, scheduled three more conference presentations and a webinar for this year. Sharing my knowledge and helping others use that knowledge to craft strategies is the work I want to do – the work I’ve always wanted to do. And yet, my co-workers are accustomed to having a ceaseless workhorse to bail them out, so we’re in a state of conflict. (In fact, one of my primary peers resigned over the holiday break. Instead of hiring a replacement, they simply assigned his full-time workload over to me.) So, how do you switch to the career you want when others are trying to force you into a box in which you’d be capable, yet uninspired? I’m at a crossroads, and I’m often left feeling lonesome, ornery, and mean. Which is why I keep looking to Waylon Jennings.
- The official Waylon Jennings site