Success at Work : Techniques : Get Ahead by Faking It
Are you working in a "no stretch" organization? To succeed at work, you need to "stretch" your
capabilities. You need to perform tasks above your skill level, tasks you've never done before.
In a no stretch organization, workers are assigned only tasks they've done before.
Because you have no experience in a task, you're not assigned that task. Because you're not
assigned that task, you have no experience in that task. Because you have no experience in
that task ...
Well run organizations
make a deliberate effort to give their employees assignments that require them to stretch. If
you work in such an organization, there's no need to continue reading this article.
You can break the cycle of stagnation by faking it. When your boss asks if you've done a task
before, mumble something ambiguous like "yeh - easy shot". That's right, outright lie to your boss.
Disclaimer: I am not
recommending this technique to doctors or airline pilots (although I have no doubt they use it).
You say you would never lie at work? But you did lie. The first time you entered the door for
the job interview, you pretended to be interested in the "work" when in reality you just wanted
to know how much they pay and how much vacation you would get, didn't you?
The ultimate fake; hundreds
of people in corporate executive positions were discovered to have fake degrees.
If you accept an assignment above your capabilities and fail to produce results, you could be
fired. But in most cases, you will be able to "stretch" your skills and complete the task
successfully. As a result, you will advance in your career. In any case, if you're in a
"no stretch" organization, what do you have to lose?
In this article, you'll
learn techniques to succeed by faking it.
It's very common for
freelancers and experts to take on tasks beyond their capability. They don't consider it to be
faking, they call it "confidence".
Recognize When NOT to Fake It
How much do you have to stretch to accomplish the task? Is the task so far beyond your skill
level that there is no way you could stretch enough to perform even a minimally acceptable job?
If so, wait for a different opportunity to fake it.
What are the possible consequences for the organization if you fail to perform the task
adequately. Would they be exposed to a high level of liability? Might they lose a multi-million
dollar contract? If so, wait for a different opportunity to fake it.
How to Fake It
Faking it can mean learning to use a complicated computer application or technology that you
have no experience with. For example, you might accept an assignment that requires you to use
a Computer Automated Drafting system (CAD). Don't start by attempting the assigned task. First
design a few smaller practice projects.
Faking it can require an understanding your organization's processes. For example, you accept
an assignment that requires you to write a specification. You'll need to get a copy of the
appropriate procedures manual. Sometimes the most surreptitious source for this is a clerk or secretary.
When attempting to
conceal the fact that you're faking it, one of your best sources of information may be a clerk
or secretary. You would be surprised how knowledgeable these people are about how things get
done in the organization.