When Criticizing Doesn’t Count

As part of my career exploration these days, I sometimes ask individuals about their job, why they do it, how long they’ve been doing it, whether they like it. I was speaking with a library clerk, who mentioned that she is retired from a career in management analysis and enjoying working part-time at a library because she had always wanted to work around books, when I realized I have cheated myself.

I asked her what did she do as a management analyst. She said she had been assigned to go into companies or departments within companies, analyze what they were doing wrong and offer suggestions for how to fix it.

“How did you end up in that job?” I had asked, a moment in time standing still between us.

“I always had a knack for being able to look at something and see exactly what was wrong. I could look at a process and tell you how to make it better.”

I left thinking that if I had gotten paid for all the bosses and companies I worked for and criticized, paid for all my suggestions to improve processes, I could be working part-time, enjoying a retirement pension for all that hard work. I gave it away for free! Never again. My criticism will have to be earned, paid for. Otherwise I’m keeping it to myself.

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