May 31, 2011

Fight For Air - The Hum of Six Billion

I work for a ridiculously large company and every weekday I'm greeted with the hallway shown at left. I try to stay upbeat by knowing this hallway is a quarter mile long and I'm getting exercise by walking it. Somehow it remains one of the most depressing things I have to do

over and over and over.

At the end of that walk is my desk where I forget about the hallway. The small space I have carved out and where wonderful things happen every day. There more desks and many other wonderful things happening around me too.

To say three thousand people work in my building is one thing, but to put it in perspective I'll point out I meet new people every day - people I have never even seen. My own father works in the building and I seldom see him. Outside of this building and around the world I have other colleagues; so much meat, in early 2009, the company let go over twenty-thousand people and I barely noticed. We lost one guy in my section, but he's back now. So what is the secret for success amidst all those warm bodies? I'll be completely honest today and lay it all on the table:

Well, at least that is my strategy. Every time I think about getting a leg up, I also think of the sea of people trying to get a leg up on me. Almost everyone is trying to climb out of their cubicle. To advance, you have to be special. You have to carve out your space and build a reputation as a person who gets it done. Follow the rule book if you like, but rules are meant to keep you down and I don't intend to be controlled. I love my job and I intend to get the job done.

Lately, I've kicked around an idea....there is a certain similarity between my work and my blog. At work I'm up against thousands but on this laptop things get serious.

Through the miracle of an invention called "the interwebs," I can connect with millions of people through my fingertips. Thanks to a wireless router, I can do it all from the couch...with the cat on my lap.

Every single day I am amazed anyone comes to this blog at all. I have no formal training in writing, photography or other things they call art. It is a struggle to piece together a paragraph; I'm much more comfortable chunkin' numbers. How the hell did I get here? How did I carve out a little space and gain a thin thread of reputation? These are thoughts I do not try to answer, but the sphere of influence grows by the hour and I get better everyday.

So my advice, what little it's worth, is to keep climbing out of your comfort zone. The same ol' thing won't cut it, you've got to stand out. Once you find the nitch, exploit it like hell.

PS - you may know where I work and you are free to comment below, but I really do love my job and I'd prefer to continue loving it. So please refrain from mentioning or hinting at the name, that is one infraction I will take seriously.


  1. Awesome post. Very well said...and I needed it, coming back to a workplace I hate after a long weekend. Thank you! "Climb out of your comfort zone" Chase the fear, chase the fear, chase the fear...

    Thanks again for this post...

  2. Dear God, I worked in places just like that for years. Seeing these pics is giving me flashbacks. But your post is well said. Push the envelope and you'll get far.

  3. This was a perfect post to read coming into work after the long weekend...I'm trying to figure out how to climb out of my cube as I'm writing this.

    I think you know why people have responded to your blog...posts like this. well done!

  4. Listen, no matter what anyone else says.....I can't see it any other way - when you start out with a cat on your lap, you're already ahead of the game.

  5. A quarter mile long hallway. Wow! I calculated the curvature of the earth over a 1/4 mile... it's an 1/8th of an inch. Good to know that in case of a fire sprinkler malfunction you can run to the center of the building to help keep your feet dry.

  6. @The Emb - yea work!

    Dear Anthony - easy to hide in a crack and hard to stand out.

    @Sander - Don't climb out, hide under!

    @Owl - There's a game on?

    @Maybe Karen but Probably Dan - I almost used that fact, but couldn't fit it. Thanks for chiming in.

  7. yea work! *voice trailing off in the distance ;)

  8. I always find it funny how man spent thousands of years working his way out of a cave only to end up back in one every day doing something called "work". De-evolution at its best! If any of us bloggers put 10% of the effort we put into our blogs into our real jobs we'd own our companies within a month. Course I'd rather be fishin'...

  9. Wow Clif, I've never seen such a large McDonalds. Where's the arches man? Seriously one of your best posts with some good I'd like a Big Mac with a large fry and drink.

  10. We come because we love your blog! Keep kicking ass in every angle of life, even sitting on the couch making blog posts

  11. Hey Clif. I've worked in big companies and small companies during my working life. Personally I like retirement. Something for you to look forward to. I was a work Maverick too. Never did tow the line.


  12. It's not the effort that stops me ( from WWFFD ), but the $$$.

  13. @FunkyFish: Don't tell my wife how much time I spent creating this post.

    @Howie: Would you like apple slices or a side salad with that?

    @Blake: I'll keep doing what I'm doing, I guess people like it.

    @Tubeman: What line? I haven't see a line for years.

    @Owlie: Someday you'll get paid to create a text link on your site. Easy money baybee.

  14. The Zombie Hallway! Stare at your shoes, stare at your shoes...

    You know who.

  15. @UNOHU - I don't know, but I have a couple guesses. Is that picture the first time you noticed the light fixtures?

  16. Hey Clif,
    my scenery is different,
    recently hired by a private country club.
    i agree. Make your space, work your space,
    expand your space. Own it.

  17. @Clif: I like the way you think.


Clif reserves the right to delete your comment if he is so inclined, but he is a pretty liberal guy so post away and see what happens.