Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 15, 2023

Living authentically can be tough in workplace

Auditions are always nerve-wracking. Will the part be yours?

You sure practiced enough before you were judged – and that’s what an audition is, a judgment. Can you handle the lines? Are you a fit for the part you want, or would you be better at a walk-on? Being someone else in a play is fun, but not always easy. Neither, says Jim Fielding in his new book “All Pride, No Ego,” is being someone else at work.

Born in Toledo into a big extended clan, Jim Fielding says that it looked like he was a member of “the perfect, nuclear family.” The truth was, though, that “vulnerabilities and dysfunctions were numerous” and that included homophobia, which was a problem: when he was 6 years old, Fielding realized he was gay.

To cover for it, he became an overachiever with a lack of self-confidence and an abundance of insecurities. To help him to conquer his weaknesses, he built a great support system but still, “I wish I had a book like this when I was starting out in my career.”

His first point here is his mantra: “Control the controllable, but leave space for the possible.”

Color “within the lines” if you must, but do it at “a company whose ethics and values align with your own.” If you’re in control, set clear goals, “hire people who are smarter than you are” and get to know them well.

“Never stop learning.” Accept that you can forgive without forgetting transgressions. Remember that if the job is right, you won’t have to change who you fundamentally are. Learn to “define FAMILY however it works for you...” Know the difference between want and need. Trust your intuition, tamp down impulsiveness, but be flexible – which will help you attract and keep the best team possible. Know that selfishness is a righteous thing sometimes.

Strive always for “cultures of excellence.”

And always “leave [your] corner of the world a better place than [you] found it.” Donate. Volunteer. Do good.

In his preface, author Jim Fielding says that he wrote this book because he “realized that my leadership style and success... are completely dependent on my personal journey.” Those words should alert readers that “All Pride, No Ego” is preponderantly a memoir, which isn’t a bad thing but it bears mentioning.

If you don’t have the patience it takes for rambling stories, you won’t like this book at all, in fact. Fielding is a storyteller, and he smartly uses his experiences to show, not tell, in a way that’s pleasant and relatable for anyone who’s ever struggled at work. Yes, the workplace tales mean that business advice is sometimes embedded, sometimes apparent, and sometimes down a rabbit hole for you to follow but for most readers, it’ll be a useful scavenger hunt.

While this book is perhaps best for the person who’s looking for a first job or who just found one and is sweating to fit in, “All Pride, No Ego” is worthwhile for anyone. Enjoy the memoir, find the helpful parts.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.