The Importance of Showing Up

Fit is the “IT” word in human resources and business right now, ‘Will a new hire fit with our company, our corporate culture?’ When hired for a job whether at a Partner or Associate level you are hired for your technical abilities, but also for a perceived fit within the company.

Enter “Happy Hour,” or the corporate retreat or even a company function. It is no longer enough to be present; to put in your billable hours and head home, to do so is viewed as not being a team player. Your technical abilities will get your foot in the door, but your willingness and ability to integrate into the team that will be paramount.

At a recent talk by Caroline Cole, to a group of University of Toronto alumni, she said that 95% of people she had let go or fired during her tenure in HR positions across a wide spectrum of industries, were fired due to personality conflicts, not ability.

This is when showing up becomes important, showing up is not just about networking, it is about being engaged, and showing a genuine interest beyond your pay cheque. While it is easy to come up with reasons or excuses for why you cannot attend a work function, showing up can do wonders for you both personally and professionally.

For example, at many company events, Senior Associates and Partners will you usually stop by, even if only for a short while, giving you unprecedented access to people who could later serve as a possible mentor or sponsor. Showing up if even for 10 minutes, may lead somewhere you’d never have expected.

Whether it is being asked to join a team working on a major deal at your firm, or just fending off questions as to why you aren’t attending company events, the benefits of attending are limitless. By attending happy hour, you are putting yourself out there, and giving those that you work with a better understanding of who you are outside of your abilities as a practitioner.

As the acclaimed actor and director, Woody Allen once said, “80-percent of success is showing up,” happy hour may just surprise you, and it may influence your career in ways you never imagined.

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