Blog article by Nic Beveridge
I sat in an office space with three other individuals, and while they busily typed away – I was looking at the clock slowly making its way towards the hour.
I was 23 at the time, and starting to rethink what I’d done.
I am a glutton for perspective. And I don’t know why.
Perhaps I’d overstepped the mark this time though.
I’d requested a meeting with the CEO of my organisation, and while it was only a medium sized company (maybe 200+ employees), I was starting to get nervous.
The clock hit ten minutes to twelve. I started to make my way towards the elevator. After all – who tolerates tardiness?
As I sat outside their office, waiting to be called in, I was running over in my head what to say.
My end game was professional guidance. I needed direction. And I wanted it from someone who I knew operated on a different level.
You see – I was on a maternity leave contract that only had three months left, and I’d been offered a lower role at another credible organisation for two years. I was a little torn. The duration on the offer I’d received was good for a contract, but it was a step back. The only benefit was it was a new team, and it seemed as though there was going to be few boundaries on what work was going to be possible there.
But I liked where I was. I liked the people. I liked the work.
I was comfortable.
I wanted to know if it was worth risking seeing out the remaining three months of my current contract. Or leaving.
So I said that to the CEO of my current organisation at the time. In as honest a way as I possibly could.
They sat back, as if absorbing what I’d said for a moment, before leaning forward.
“You say you are comfortable? Well, I’m concerned for you,” they said.
I was shocked.
Surely being comfortable with what you are doing is the best compliment you could pay to an organisation?
I realised they could tell they’d hit a chord with me. Maybe that’s what they were trying to do all along.
They let the comment fester for what felt like an eternity longer, before continuing.
“You see – there are two types of people capable of doing things.”
“There are builders, and there are polishers.”
“Builders are always looking to improve what’s there. Whether it’s coming in and constructing something completely from scratch, or renovating something existing in order to improve or make it more stable. Builders aren’t fulfilled unless they are building, and they are always looking for opportunities to create something sustainable – to build something from the ground up. They can see how what they are doing is going to come together in the future.”
“Polishers don’t want to build – either because they couldn’t be bothered or because they don’t have the tools or foresight. Polishers just want to keep what’s already there looking good, and working properly. It’s easier to come in when they think a job has been done and take it from there. As long as they are ticking a box, then they are content.”
“They are comfortable.”
The CEO paused, went to speak, but then paused again.
“You came here to ask me for guidance? For direction?”
“Well, I can’t give it to you. You need to ask yourself a question instead.”
“What question is that?” I replied slowly.
A half smile formed on their face.
“What am I – a builder or a polisher?”