When is it OK to be a Wild Card at work?

2014 Wild Card World Series

Tomorrow evening, two wild card teams face off against each other for the MLB World Series Championship.  If you’re in to baseball, it’s a bit of an odd and exciting pairing with the Kansas City Royals facing off against the San Francisco Giants. The Royals definitely didn’t look like a playoff team in April, but a brilliant second half of the season, and an epic 16-2 run through the playoffs to get this far has definitely shown they were a worth investment in Vegas at the beginning of the season.  Veteran loaded San Francisco Giants seem to have an October magnet in their pocket, no matter how good / bad, high / low the previous season has been, they bring it together to play ball in October and this year they’re back at the big show for the third time in five years!

In sports, there is room for comebacks and stories of grandeur, but when you have to slug it out every day in the work place, many employers would agree that they appreciate consistency.  While it would be a dream to consistently have top performers, its unfair to assume an employee won’t hit a slump that they need to bounce back from or have a ‘building year.’  A wild card in the work place could be potentially identified as a cowboy or a creative type who goes after company objectives in a colourful way. Wild cards could also be people who often work hard but can’t seem to quite close a sale they’re working on, yet can land a whale.  Or wild cards could even be someone who comes out of left field with a brilliant idea. Having been seen as both a wild card, a utility player, and a veteran, in the work place here are a few things I’ve learned about when it is okay to be a wild card at work.  

It is OKAY to be a Wild Card at work WHEN:

1. You play well with others
If your game is a little inconsistent at times, but you’re a contributor to team projects, work well with your team mates, forgiveness flows more freely.  Even if you think your boss is a jerk, they’re likely intelligent enough to see your efforts contributing to the team and see your value through your contributions.  So if you know you’re a wild card, make sure you’re also a team player!

2. You communicate with your stakeholders
We likely see our work mates more than our family and friends and as such you have to be open and communicate.  Life happens and slumps can come from just about anywhere; personal illness, family/marital issues, death of someone close to you, car trouble, accident…  Being open and explaining your situation to your boss and your team doesn’t make a drop in performance ‘okay,’ but if people understand where you’re at, you allow them to be in a position to support you best so you can get back to your A game asap.

3. Your crazy idea backed by hard work pans out (or doesn’t)
Effort matters.  If your known to have crazy ideas but back them up with hard work, effort is appreciated, even more so if it pans out as a win for the company. However, there comes a time when too many crazy ideas in a row without results does not make it okay to be a wild card (#lifelessonlearned).

4. You make it to the World Series
Forbes states that the San Fran Giants are currently worth “$1,000 M” and Royals ticket sales have jumped 12% this year and are expected to make a mint next year in ticket buying power increased sponsorships.  While a big win likely won’t get you a reserved parking spot forever, being a wild card and making it to the World Series will definitely increase your company credibility in the foreseeable future.

What do you think about wild cards in the work place?
If you are one, what are some tips you could give to others to help them be World Series wild cards!?

A bit of baseball:

New York Times: Royals & Giants Make It A Wild-Card World Series
ESPN: Welcome to the Worst World Series EVER