Sunday, September 28, 2008

Top dog plays second fiddle

I’ve gotten used to being the best at what I do. Although it wasn’t always that way, numerous events in my life have taught me that I am top dog material. I aced debates, killed the opposition in negotiations and even landed a job nobody thought possible.

Fast forward several years and I’m still with the job nobody taught I would get. Some even marvel at me for being in the position I am. I’ve set benchmarks among my peers and raised the bar for all coming after me.

Being top dog for so long, I’ve begun to think that I’m still up there and that everything would come easy. After all I’ve always been quick on my feet and nailed it whenever I needed to.

Things aren’t quite the same today. I find myself in a situation where the top dog status is the general accepted standard to be where I am. Things don’t come easy anymore and competition is stiff. It’s a whole different ballgame and frankly, I’m feeling myself slip.

I’ve pondered upon this quandary I find myself in and the more I think of it, the more reasons I deduce to explain my loss of form. Maybe the competition is better, or maybe they just don’t get me. Maybe I’m just slacking abit more than the next and I need to pick up the pace. Or maybe I’m not ready for this - too much too soon? Or has the pressure to be on top gotten to me?

I’m sure all these reasons and some others are true in some quantum or another. I’m also certain that a noteworthy portion of how I now feel is down to just that – a feeling. It could well be that I’ve got it all mixed up in my head.

But not till just minutes ago (just before I begun writing this account) had I realized one of the key reasons why I find myself feeling this way.


Over the last few months, I’ve found myself trying to make a stronger stance at where I work. I wanted to make my presence felt and I wanted to build a reputation of being the guy who plays hardball. The kinda person who knows how to get everything he needs and keeps everyone in check and on track. In the process of creating – or perhaps retrieving – this persona, it is more than likely that I have made some less-than-friends in the process.

Take my boss for instance. I got mad at him last week I gave him such a candid answer he wasn’t ready to hear it. Sure he’s trying to pin the blame on me for something that did work out as a result of his miscommunication but I took it one step too far and made my resentment for this vocal. Similarly my can’t-get-to-the-point, Ms perfect teammate has been getting some straight talk (and walk) from me. Even my emails are missing the friendly “hi” and lacks the care that I used to treat them with. As a result, I think they’re throwing curve balls my way – effectively missing me in the process and striking the target beyond me.

The game has changed. The environment calls for smarter (as opposed to stronger) approaches to dealing with people and problem. More thought needs to go into every action. More care into every conversation. Less arrogance; more sincerity. Time to be the me I’d want to work and play with. Not the one I’d want to bury.

Until then, top dog is just average Joe.

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