Toot Your Own Horn

“There are ways to impress people and creative opportunities for anything you want to do. Blow the socks off of someone by doing something creative that helps them solve a problem and reach out to them directly rather than just sending your resume through their career center. That person will take that as a sign that you’re super motivated.”

Facebook contributor / innovator Matt Kelly, BGSU Class of 2008

Self-confessed Internet “addict” from age 12


Investor’s Business Daily recently reported that, “After studying the daily habits of 177 self-made millionaires over the course of five years, Thomas C. Corley found that they avoid one costly habit: procrastination.  "It prevents even the most talented individuals from realizing success in life," he writes in his upcoming book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This goes hand-in-hand with author Napoleon Hill's assertion that the wealthiest people are also the most decisive people.”  Out of the 500 millionaires Hill studied in the early 20th century, "Every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly,"

Hill once wrote that one of the major causes of procrastination is lack of passion, Corley emphasizes: "We simply like to do the things we like to do and we put off the things we do not like to do.  If passion and massive wealth are linked it's not surprising that very few of us lack passion when it comes to our careers. According to Gallup only 13 percent of employees are 'engaged' in their jobs or emotionally invested in their work." 

But here’s the irony.  Even when the employee is super motivated, hard-working and incredibly loyal, there are still outside factors that cause companies to be inconsistent and often “impolite” with the way they treat their stand-outs.  We hear more and more stories of what I call “shooting stars;” newsmakers that change the world one day and are occupants of the doghouse the next.

When Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay released Peyton Manning in 2012 because he missed the season with a neck injury, everyone thought he would retire and wait out his turn for the Hall of Fame.  It could very well have gone that way had Manning decided to do just that, but given his genuine love of the game, he refused to walk away. Then a former quarterback turned empathetic opportunist named John Elway appeared and as a general manager wooed Manning to the Broncos, where he’d help the team get multiple post-season appearances including two Super Bowls inside of four seasons.  He set all-time passing and touchdown seasonal and career records in the process.

Since he announced his retirement, he’s recently been honored as one of the most outstanding people in Colts history and the team is building a statue of him at their stadium to enshrine him accordingly. But he will not officially be retiring as a Colt. Elway kept him on the injured/retired list and never actually released him.  He wasn’t about to let the Broncos’ savvy, risk-ignoring and gutsy move become a victory shared with those that quit on his Super Bowl cowboy.  When Manning is officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, it will bear both teams' namesakes in the billing so what team he “officially” retired from won’t matter that much, but it is symbolic. The Colts quit on him.  The Broncos believed in him.  And that’s why it’s good he’s not retiring as a Colt despite being offered a one-day contract with the Colts to retire as one.  The Colts don’t deserve any of that glory.  They were already finished with him and had moved on years ago despite his passion, loyalty and spirit.  The reality is this. The Colts should have stuck by their man. He obviously had a lot more game in him and despite the slap, never said a bitter word.  That’s the kind of justice every fired employee wishes he/she could get but very few of us have the chance to play out our vested revenge in front of a multi-million member audience.  Like the guy that runs into his ex-girlfriend that dumped him as he’s walking out of the lottery office with a wheelbarrow full of cash, justice is seldom so sweet.  The victory has to be personal if it is to be enjoyed at all.

So what’s the lesson, Ron?  Where are you going with all this?  Well you see the guy that I quoted at the top of the page?  The BG grad who made big time waves at Facebook.  He resigned and is currently doing consulting work.  Why? Because he loves a challenge and considers himself a “problem solver.”  He knows himself well enough to know that he needs the puzzles and quandaries of working through to find solutions and he knows the routine of regular, minimal challenge work will kill his creative drive.

See he knows what makes him tick and further knows what puts him to sleep.  He understands his value.  Now we’re back to the mantra I’ve been preaching for more than a decade, “Know thyself!”  Here’s the math.  If you know what makes you excel and you have seen visible benefits go to your company from your contribution, take the time to develop that skill level in an application that will serve YOU as well.  If companies are making people king for a day and pauper the next, self-preservation is more important than ever.

There was a time when company loyalty was always properly repaid and God bless the owners, directors, and managers that still know the value of good people and reward them accordingly.  But I’m afraid there are too many today that do not display that reciprocal dedication and the creative individual must protect himself.  When you create, invent, and do what has not been done before, be sure it is properly recorded somewhere; be it a company newsletter, a bulletin to others in your professional industries, even an in-house email describing the nuance.  This isn’t chest thumping, it is a matter of maintaining a record of that which is yours.  It’s perfectly fine if you wish to remain humble; that’s admirable.  But there are ways of making sure your name is tied to successful ideas without looking like you are “grandstanding.”

A year later when life has taken several turns, you may want that proof of what you accomplished as you are explaining your value to a new potential employer.  You can imagine the sort of endorsement you’d get from the company you are leaving behind, right?  Today’s business world has gotten pretty survivalist in nature.  Protect yourself in an aggressive, forward-thinking, decisive way.  This is who I am.  This is what I have done.  This is what I can do for you.  Being an able bodied, reliable, loyal employee is certainly admirable.  Being all those things while being smart and sure footed is even better.

This is not your father’s sales job, Willy Loman.

You read me? 

Ron Ciancutti has worked in the parks and recreation industry since he was 16 years old, covering everything from maintenance, operations, engineering, surveying, park management, design, planning, recreation, and finance. He holds a B.S. in Business from Bowling Green State University and an M.B.A. from Baldwin Wallace University. He has held his current position as Director of Procurement since 1990. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at