Last year while reading the daily e-list from Career Directors International, I came across a new philosophy from CDI’s President, Laura DeCarlo. Laura plans to include it a soon to be published career management book. In it, she shares this piece of valuable advice on how to survive a hostile work environment while searching for a new job.
Laura says, “practice turtilism”…be the turtle.” In other words, stop sticking your neck out asking for more work and trying to make a good and visible impression, which might intimidate and frustrate the good old boy’s club network within your company’s management. Instead, tuck in close – head down, do the work necessary to the best degree possible, and try to become invisible (just a shell, not worth noticing, undermining, or attacking) until the day you can tender your resignation with a new job waiting in the wings.
When the writing is on the wall that you’re unappreciated, and you no longer love your job, then you should consider becoming the turtle. Laura does note that “turtle mimicry will NOT help you survive a fire in the workplace; it will also not help you successfully avoid a confrontation with a boss who is at this very moment yelling at you for reading her book (or this blog) at your desk during work hours.”
But be careful. Turtle mimicry can be habit forming and lead to invisibility, lowered job satisfaction, lack of growth, and career stagnation. Only practice it when you need to temporarily remove yourself as a moving target from an employer’s radar while you seek a better, safer, and more fulfilling job match. Turtilism will help get you by but it will not help you fly unless you take additional, more aggressive steps to find a new environment that doesn’t make you want to crawl inside your shell and hide.
Use turtilism as a last resort and you need to hang in there just a little bit longer!
–Susan Geary, 1st Rate Resumes