Although it was a small business, it was going to provide more than a hundred jobs in a county that had been hit hard by several company closures in the past decade. The announcement that they would be opening a new operation in a facility that had been abandoned the previous year came as welcome news. A small signboard at the entrance to the plant announced that they were accepted applications for all positions.
Among those who applied were two brothers, both of whom had been laid off as a result of a previous closure in the county. They both needed work, and they both were interested in the opportunity that the new plant could offer. They had unique approaches to the new job prospect, and in time they each felt the impact of the approach they took.
The first brother was somewhat apprehensive from the start. He was concerned that this plant would fail like several others. He was concerned about retraining. He had always been on a set work schedule. The new facility was going to operate on a flex schedule and that disturbed him. As part of the initial interview it was mentioned that the company would be looking for people with management potential. He was uncertain if he wanted the extra responsibility and commitment, and that troubled him. Even though he applied he had already set some serious limitations.
The other brother was pleased that an opportunity had come long. He was not anxious about having to move to find a job, so being able to stay in the county and have work again was a big deal to him. He had learned his last job well, and if the plant had not closed, he was working his way up. He was confident that with what he already knew and a little retooling he could handle most anything a new job would demand. The flex schedule was going to be an adjustment, but to him being unemployed was far worse. As for the potential for a promotion, he welcomed it. He had no idea what his future with this new company might hold, and he was not going to close any doors for himself.
Both of the brothers were employed in the first round of hires, and they both started on the production floor in similar line positions. From the start the attitude each brought to the new opportunity began to show. The first brother was skeptical about a lot of things. He was sure that this plant did not offer the long-term stability for which he was looking. He did his job, but he kept an eye on the employment ads in search of other prospects that might be better. The flex schedule did prove to be a big adjustment for him, and it took him months to get used to it. He ignored the announcement posted in the break room inviting anyone interested a supervisory position to attend a special meeting.
The second brother approached the new job as the break he had been hoping for, a new opportunity, a fresh start. The flex schedule was an adjustment and he made it. He understood that there were no long-term guarantees, but he was not going to waste the present fretting about it. And he did attend the meeting for those interested in supervisory positions.
At the end of the first year both brothers were still employed and the company appeared to be doing quite well, with good prospects for the future. The first brother had settled in. He was finally used to the flex schedule, he was somewhat comfortable doing the job to which he had been assigned, but he was still a bit apprehensive about the company’s future. In short, he had reached the edge of the limitations he had put on the new job a year earlier.
The second brother had been promoted to shift manager. He was given a substantial pay increase, more control over his schedule, and greater influence in the daily operations of the plant. As a result, he had a bigger hand in the future of the company. His positive approach and a lack of self-imposed limitations on his new job had paid off.
Opportunities come and opportunities go. Some work out, some flop, and some end up being so-so. In some cases we are to blame and in others the circumstances are simply beyond our control. Nonetheless, the limitations we place on the opportunities that come our way often serve as the biggest single factor in the ultimate success we achieve with them. So the next time you start something new, be careful how many limitations you place on yourself or the opportunity before you. You could wind up cheating yourself.