Gen X Is in Charge. Don’t Make a Big Deal About It. How to Do Great Work: Finding Common Ground

Feranmi Olaseinde

Feranmi Olaseinde

Oct 10, 20233 min read

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Gen X Is in Charge. Don’t Make a Big Deal About It. How to Do Great Work: Finding Common Ground

Over the past few years, the way we work has undergone significant changes. From the rejection of hierarchies in favor of a "flat" corporate structure to the rise of co-working spaces, the office culture has transformed. However, amidst these changes, one thing remains constant: the importance of great work.

One of the key aspects of the new office culture is the shift towards a flat corporate structure. While some businesses have attempted to completely reject hierarchies, the reality is that this rarely works. Instead, a new crop of companies is aiming to find a middle ground, acknowledging the need for some level of structure while still promoting collaboration and innovation.

Another significant change in the workplace is the desperate phase of Return to Office (R.T.O.) plans. Tens of millions of office workers have faced three years of scattershot plans for a return to in-person work. Now, businesses are ready to get serious and implement sustainable strategies for a hybrid or fully in-person work environment. This transition requires effective leadership and competent bosses who can ensure a smooth onboarding process, provide feedback, and support career growth.

Pay transparency has also become a prevalent factor in job searches, especially for young people entering the workforce. Thanks to new salary disclosure laws, job seekers now have a clear view of how much money they can expect to earn. This transparency empowers individuals to make informed decisions regarding their career paths and negotiate fair compensation.

Additionally, co-working spaces have gained popularity among workers whose companies have gone fully remote during the pandemic. These shared offices offer an escape from chaotic home environments and provide an opportunity to join a community of like-minded individuals. The sense of belonging and the chance to collaborate with others can enhance productivity and overall job satisfaction.

When it comes to doing great work, there are actionable steps that individuals can take. The first is to pick something and get started. If you're unsure about what to work on, take a guess and begin working. It's better to start somewhere and potentially guess wrong than to remain stagnant. Some of the most significant discoveries have come from noticing connections between different fields, so don't be afraid to explore multiple interests.

Developing a habit of working on your own projects is crucial. Don't let "work" solely mean tasks assigned to you by others. By working on personal projects, you have the freedom to delve into something you're excessively interested in. This passion and personal investment will drive you to go above and beyond mere diligence.

To do great work, it's essential to learn enough about your chosen field to reach the frontier of knowledge. Knowledge expands fractally, and as you get closer to the edge, you'll start noticing gaps. These gaps, often overlooked by others, present opportunities for exploration and discovery. Asking questions about things that everyone else takes for granted can lead to groundbreaking insights.

Boldly chase outlier ideas, especially if others aren't interested in them. If you have expertise in a specific area and can precisely pinpoint what others are overlooking, it's worth pursuing. Many great breakthroughs have come from individuals who were excited about possibilities that were ignored by the majority.

In conclusion, while the office culture is evolving, the pursuit of great work remains constant. Embracing a flat corporate structure, implementing effective R.T.O. plans, promoting pay transparency, and embracing co-working spaces can contribute to a positive work environment. Additionally, taking actionable steps such as picking something to work on, developing personal projects, learning at the frontier of knowledge, noticing gaps, and exploring outlier ideas can lead to exceptional outcomes. By combining the principles of the new office culture with the strategies for doing great work, individuals can thrive in their careers and make a meaningful impact.

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