02 Feb 2015 06:33 pm

Posted by under Book Review

Nuthin’ to see here

invisiblesInvisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion by David Zweig (ISBN: 978-1591846345) 2014

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, personal branding – the current wisdom seems to be that if you aren’t promoting yourself, what you’ve accomplished and where you are going then you are in danger of being left behind or not noticed. In the modern workplace, many behave as if not being recognized will inevitably relegate you to the back bench.  Yet, for some people their experience does not support this notion.  In fact, invisibility allows some to find a particular kind and degree of satisfaction in their work that recognition and praise just cannot compete with.

In this book, author David Zweig looks at a number of people working in widely different fields who appear to not simply survive in obscurity, but actually thrive on it.  These individuals in some ways form the backbone of the organization in which they work, delivering solid results in a way that is understated and un-noticed.

Zweig’s premise, in fact, is that the intrinsic rewards of ambivalence toward recognition, meticulousness and savouring responsibility comprise three key traits embodied by many who work in roles and positions well out of the spotlight. Such individuals are the “invisibles” in our midst. Critically, the invisibles seem to find lengthy, rewarding careers out of the spotlight in ways that the more renowned and recognized people sometimes do not.  The invisibles have a sense of curiosity and engagement directly in their work that sustains them.

Who are the invisibles?  Just about anyone who operates in a supporting role – fact checkers at a newspaper, cinematographers, interpreters, roadies, designers and many others.  The common thread is that the work goes largely unseen and unrecognized when it is done well.  In fact, the better the job is done, the less likely anyone is even be aware of the work; and the invisibles that do the work couldn’t be happier.  Chasing rewards fades into insignificance compared to the compensation of mastery over work that resembles and art more than a task.

When considering motivation, Zweig offers an entire book full of case studies that demonstrate the principles found in Daniel Pink’s work, Drive.

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