Run into trouble

Most people stay away from trouble. But doing the opposite – leaning into trouble – offers several upsides in the professional world, with very little downside.

When you walk into a troubled situation, expectations are low. Since things are already broken, any result that is better than the status-quo is to exceed expectations – a low risk, high reward situation.

As an outsider, you look at a problem with a fresh pair of eyes. This gives you insights that insiders have long overlooked due to their assumptions. You are more likely to solve a long-standing problem than people who have stood with that problem for a long time.

Everybody loves troubleshooters. If you are one, you would be recognized and promoted. If you don’t get your fair share of recognition, you have formidable points on your resume and interesting stories to tell your prospective employers.

Troubleshooting is an artist’s work. If you find a solution in a manual, it is no longer troubleshooting, but ‘standard operating procedure’. The person who writes a standard operating procedure gets to be an artist, but not the person who follows one.

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