How Punk’s “Missing Link” Can Help Find Your Passion

The Rods, or more famously known now as Eddie and the Rods, were an English pub band often credited for being somewhat of a missing link between rock and roll and punk during the evolution of music in the late 1970s. Their undisputed top, and perhaps only commercial, hit, “Do Anything You Wanna Do”, has become a forgotten anthem relegated to satellite and college radio stations. The terrific music blog, Wilfully Obscure, points out that the meaning of DAYWD for decades has been the subject of debate. Is it an existentialist tune? Is it a working class anthem in the vein of God Save the Queen? Is it a passive aggressive suggestion-to-break-up song? If you’d like, you can draw the conclusions from the lyrics here; however, I see the song as a call and response, a tool to access your current employment situation and if it’s time to change courses.

Verse 1:

I’m gonna break out of the city , leave the people here behind. Searching for adventure, it’s the kind of life to find. Tired of doing day jobs with no thanks for what I do, I know I must be someone. Now I’m gonna find out who.

Do you feel stagnant, not satisfied, or under-appreciated? Chances are, you feel worn out from the daily grind, know you have much more potential, and you are ready to answer this call to action. Thankfully, the chorus gives us some great questions to ask ourselves before going into the boss’s office and raising something serious followed by one important command.

  1. Why don’t you ask them what they expect from you?
  2. Why don’t you tell them what you are gonna do?
  3. You aren’t the only one and you have a voice. Have you used it?
  4. Do it.

The Rods recognize your frustration and they’re here to help. They provide some really great real world things to think about. Have you and your manager discussed expectations lately? Chances are, if you haven’t you may be a bit uneasy and weary of your future, particularly if you’ve been working on the same project or program for quite a while. If you feel like you are out of the loop, ask your manager to set aside 15 minutes to talk. Do this in person and let your manager know that it is a meeting to touch base. Most large companies have these meetings built in as a monthly or quarterly function, but some don’t. Once there is a time set, make it official by setting up an Outlook Meeting and putting it on your desk calendar. In the meantime, do not send an e-mail expressing your frustration or how you feel out of the loop. Once an e-mail is sent, however well intended it is, it cannot come back and tone cannot be measured. Clue your manager in about the scope of the meeting, i.e. you want to discuss your role, their and your expectations for yourself, etc.

Verse 2:

I don’t need no politicians to tell me things I shouldn’t be, neither no opticians to tell me what I oughta see. No-one tells you nothing even when you know they know. They tell you what you should be, they don’t like to see you grow.

Unfortunately, in the second voice, the Rods show off the side of a further disgruntled worker. The protagonist in our interpretation is reflecting on inauthentic communicators: they don’t see their managers and teammates as authentic communicators, they feel slighted by their vision and direction, left out from important communications, and feel like they do not have an advocate for growth. As a leader and a manager, it may be tough to pinpoint when your employees or teammates feel this way. However, there are ways to reduce the risk:

  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Authentic Connections

When you get to the meeting, it is your forum to shine. You have scheduled the meeting so come prepared. Be direct and honest and tell your manager what you want to do. If you are interested in taking on an aspect of the project, tell them. If you are interested in earning a bigger role on the team, ask your manager what you can do to prepare yourself. Your manager will never know your passions if you do not communicate your desires and quite often, you are taking a burden off of their plate by helping to define your skillset. And make sure to make the meeting about you and what you can control.

When it comes to asking if you have used your voice, think about the following ways your passion can influence the direction of your team at any level of any company:

  • Did I communicate my passion or desire effectively?
  • Is there a game plan in place to help me reach my goals?
  • What have I done within my team to increase our success?
  • How can I advocate for the success of my team by showcasing my skills to demonstrate my voice?

In the interview for my current position, I was very upfront about my interests and made sure to frame them in a way that showed genuine and sincere interest in seeing the team succeed. But the seeds for that interview were planted long before said interview. I met with my manager on a regular basis (every month) to “catch up”: I let her know my eyes were fixed on being as successful as I could be and learning as much as I could learn with the desire to translate that into leading a team of my own while asking directly for tasks and projects to perform to demonstrate that I would be ready if the opportunity came.

By building authentic relationships with my team members, I was able to help advocate for their ideas and for where they wanted to go. And by effectively advocate for their ideas and goals, I became confident in my voice.

Assessing Your Satisfation Using “DAYWD”

The thing I like best about “DAYWD” is that the song encourages dialogue, organization, and lets the listener know they’re not the only one feeling that way. It also gives a several step solution plan culminating in a call to action to the listener.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before making any employment-related decision based on frustration:

  • Have I communicated this with my manager?
  • If I have, have we worked together to establish a gameplan?
  • Have I updated my manager recently with a progress report or new goals or desires?

If you have exhausted your options and still feel small, it may be time to change directions. But if you were able to answer those questions and create a dialogue, with a game plan, goals, and solutions, you sound like you may be ready to do anything you want to do.

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