When you apply for a job as CEO...

When you throw your hat in the ring & apply for a job as CEO [or Finance Director or Road Sweeper] - you come under pressure to conform.

You wonder "what are they looking for?"  "How can I show them I am what they want - so they'll give me the job?"

From the start you're under pressure
to be what someone else wants. You can feel yourself tweaking your story to make it attractive to others. You try to project yourself & your abilities - to please others. This is the pressure to comply.

It starts for job seekers right from the beginning.

You get the job & are inducted.  
You experience the pressure to become one of "us" - more comprehensively than ever.  You feel the organisation doing its best to tweak you.

I remember my induction into London Transport. It was part training, part osmosis.  All round me I noticed the London Transport way in action.  The behaviour of supervisors, the images on display, the stories in the canteen.  I felt the organisation doing its best to turn me into one of them.  My difference was threatened.

I remember doing that to others later - when I was responsible for designing their induction.

You remember it too.  
Every job you've ever had has tried to turn you into a conforming good employee.  Fit to serve the organisation well.  Fit to serve the mission others own.

The new CEO has to fit in.  

Has to adjust to the status quo & comply in so many little ways. 

You'd expect a CEO to say "I fit in at first, but gradually (or rapidly) I'll change the direction & culture of this organisation."  

You'd expect a CEO to survive the best efforts of the organisation to turn her into an acceptable leader.  

But if you're the new CEO
- you're engaged in a struggle to survive.  Your individuality (the very thing that got you interested in the job) is vulnerable to the crowd of the organisation.

It's a fantasy to think that - just because the CEO is the highest paid person in the organisation - the CEO is well able to be different. The poor old road sweeper may have a better chance of remaining an individual.

So for all of you feeling the pressure to conform & comply
- and thereby lose your unique personality & creativity: here's a (draft) poem.  Maybe it'll help your courage to stand out against the crowd.

I stand against the crowd
I stand out from the crowd
I am an individual
Awkward in my comfort
Edgy in my skin
Alive in my own little way
I live my say
I give the best shot I can
Every day.
I stand against the crowd
Of wasters who fritter
Their life away their way.
I waste my life my way
I fritter my days into
The oblivion I fashion
Every step I say.
Because I am who am
Condemned to be myself
I stand out from the crowd
Comfortable in my discomforting way
That comes from every pore
Every sore
Every score of my expressions.
It's my art
The heart of my song
The liver that cleans my spleen
Seen in all my glory every time
I stand against the crowd
Each and every difference
Understandable me.
See that fella
Hovering on the edge
The one who isn't fitting in
The one with the shifty eyes
The glint of his own
You can smell that he's
An outsider
A weirdo
An awkward one
An individual
A body of imagining
Scheming to survive
The crowd
The collective view
The "what we all think"
I stand against the crowd
I stand out from the crowd
Away from the crowd
Proud of my own way
Fiddling the melody
Composed of notes
I've assembled from the crowd
Playing the game I've invented
The rules I've annunciated
Predicated on the shoulders
Of giants who have fallen
In battle
Against the crowd
Castigated on shoulders
Of heroes that have died
For the cause of being
I reject the way of the crowd
Every time my heart pumps
Blood from the flat of my soul
To the peak of my imagination.
I will cause
Conflagration to
Instigation of the self
Author of my fate
Creator of my faith
Born to be wild
Not filed away in a box
I defy
I stand against the crowd
That would
categorise me
Classify me
Entomb me in place
Where they could ignore me
Where they could make me safe
From causing a splash
From making a difference
From changing
The course of history
The dreams of others
The Universe.
For such a cause
I stand against the crowd
I stand out from the crowd
To welcome you
Fellow traveller
Fellow awkward person
Follower battler
For your way.
For your way is my way too
Your way is yours
My way is mine
Our way stands out from the crowd
We stand against the crowd.
We stand up for ourselves
We stand who stand.
Against the crowd
Unto death.