A time tested adage is: persistence pays. But, in careers and business it is true. We have proof of this in the form of an employee who proved it to everyone, including herself. She applied (several years ago) via fax for a Research Associate position. The position had been recently filled so when her faxed resumè came in, our office administrator put it in the recycling bin. So, she never heard back from us. A few weeks later, she faxed it again and the cycle repeated; she even called and asked if it was received and, without mentioning the call or fax to me, the office administrator again recycled the resumè and kept the call to herself. This happened several times before I saw the resumè because by that time the office administrator had resigned and I picked up the fax. We still did not have a position open for another Research Associate but we did, suddenly, have an opening for office administrator and I asked her if she could type and was interested. She said “yes.” That was in 2005 and she is with us today, though in a different role than then. Her persistence in sending her resumè lead to an opening that later allowed her to take the position she originally applied for, Research Associate, when an opening occurred. And, she helped us learn a new way to structure the work eventually creating a new job description that was a step forward for the company. She had graduated about a year before we hired her and while she worked after graduation, that position was not what she wanted to do. Seeing our position description inspired her to apply and, by being persistent, she got what she wanted. A lesson to everyone starting careers is that you don’t always get where you want to immediately, but you won’t get there if you do not work at it until you do!
I have a perpetual calendar and one of the quotes I read every year, attributed to Winston Churchill, is “Never, never, never give up.” This is another way of saying “persistence pays”; “try, try, and try again if at first you don’t succeed”; and, in the vernacular of my generation, “keep on truckin’ baby.” Long term goal achievement varies among individuals. For some people, achieving short terms goals, due to their relative ease when compared to long term goals, is as good as it gets. In fact, there is a well known social psychology experiment, referred to as “the marshmallow test” that studied how children differ in their ability to defer an inferior short term goal (eating 1 marshmallow) in favor of a superior long term goal (eating 2 marshmallows). The children who participated in this study were followed over many decades of their lives to ascertain whether those who were able to defer gratification were in some ways different from those who preferred instant gratification. As one might expect, the individuals who were able to forgo the immediate reward were, overall, more successful in achieving their goals throughout their lives. In the example David mentions of our current, and most wonderful, employee (who posts these blogs!), the ability to keep trying until one achieves the desired goal/ outcome is a trait associated with other positive traits. We are fortunate to have an intelligent, loyal employee for 10 years who persistently applied for a job with our company. Keep on truckin’!