a.k.a. Workplace-Architect, Logistician, Planner, Coordinator, Trustee
Path to create value: Contributor
Contributor prefers to create an infrastructure for others so that they can accomplish their projects and build their careers. Contributors usually avoid the spotlight—they prefer to work from behind the scenes. They care about creating a friendly atmosphere at work and are masters of multitasking. Contributors feel the happiest when they observe that their working environment develops in harmony, and when they live a balanced lifestyle. They enjoy hearing that it feels great working with them and that their contribution matters.
Contributors are sometimes misunderstood by their environment as they can be seen as intimidated and not ambitious. After all, they don’t even try to get to the positions with high social status: become leaders, managers, or launch their own projects. Well, in fact, they are ambitious, it’s just that they focus on building a functional, balanced environment, and assisting others in developing their careers. There is a great difference between staying on the sidelines and taking place behind the scenes. Contributors choose the latter.
STRENGTHS AT WORKPLACE
First of all, a major personal strength of contributors is the ability (and even preference) to work in a team. Today, most new initiatives are team projects. Teamwork and brainstorming usually lead to much better results than assigning individual employees or subcontractors to do the work—especially if the project involves some complex logistics. Contributors are also eager to compromise during the project. They understand that the main objective is to maximize the output from the project—and to reach this goal, it is impossible to fit the taste of every team member to the same extent.
Contributors gain a ton of energy from working in a team. Making a group effort motivates them. Therefore, they make their best efforts during the project and deeply care about the results. While working in a team, they often sacrifice their free time for the group and go the extra mile. For instance, they take part of their work home, use their contacts to push the project forward, or volunteer to arrange catering for the whole team when it comes to spending an emergency evening at the office.
Despite all the sacrifices, contributors usually don’t feel the need to publicly represent their teams. They are good presenters but they don’t feel the pressure to stand on stage. For them, public acknowledgment is not where the main portion of work satisfaction comes from.
Gifted Negotiators, Listeners, And Mediators
Contributors don’t embark on ego trips—they don’t need to always be right and win every debate. They can make compromises and use the magic words, “I’m sorry!” when necessary. It greatly helps them in objectively looking at the issues occurring within their team and in their broader working environment.
They can take other peoples’ perspectives, and they always try to find a rational reason for a disagreement—not by asking, “who is guilty” but rather by asking, “where is the difference in beliefs, needs, or expectations that causes all the tension?” This approach is the reason why many contributors become successful negotiators and mediators—even if they have no formal education in that department.
Social Animals Focused on Fostering Good Karma
Contributors are sociable—both at work and beyond. They treat their coworkers as more than just collaborators on projects—they aim to get to know them well, and make genuine friendships. Therefore, they are genuinely interested in the lives and problems of their coworkers. They use to remember special occasions such as birthdays and important anniversaries and celebrate them—surprising their coworkers with a cake, birthday cards, and other little treats. They are also eager to arrange social events at work and after working hours. They understand that building bonds at work are an important factor to develop and maintain team spirit.
Contributors also like to take care of their workplace. Working in a clean and cozy office has an additional value to them—it s why they often personalize their workstation using family pictures, plants, and other personal items. When they walk into a place that has “good karmic energy” in the morning, it gives them good energy for the whole day.
Patient, Rational, and Wise
Contributors usually take time and seek advice before making any strategic decisions. They are not impulsive and don’t gamble when it comes to team projects. They make realistic plans. If some task can’t fit into the roadmap, they will simply say, “Sorry, it is not possible.” They prefer to say the truth rather than overpromise and stress out later on.
They are also patient. They understand that developing projects—especially the projects that have real value for the society—takes time and often lasts for years. Therefore, they don’t look forward to quick results, but rather plan, chop projects into small pieces, and go forward systematically day by day.
Today’s job market is hectic, and we have to absorb roughly five times more new information per day than the generation of our parents. More often then not, we also need to juggle multiple projects at work.
And yet, contributors can handle that with grace! Although the analogue nature of our minds makes multitasking hard for everyone, contributors juggle tasks and deliver on time better than others because of their logistic skills, self-discipline, and the ability to say “no” when they start feeling overwhelmed.
Easily Earn Trust from Their Colleagues
If there is one person in your environment who is not the boss, yet, who is the to-go-to person when it comes to discussing personal issues, it might be a typical contributor. Contributors are empathic and genuinely interested in building their working environment on many levels, including building trust in the team. They are also good observers. Therefore, they eagerly listen to their colleagues’ problems and try to help out by sharing their points of view and personal advice.
For the same reason, they are also better well-informed when it comes to the personal problems of their team members, and conflicts between them than the managers. In dysfunctional working environments, it often happens that contributors are the only individuals in the picture who know what is going on behind the scenes and what the real causes of the toxicity and lack of functionality in their environment are.
Sensitive to Societal Problems
Most contributors are interested in current societal and environmental problems. They are up to date with politics and track the progress in the domains such as sustainability, ecology, or diversity. They also choose their employers accordingly. Before starting a new job, they always reflect on their values and beliefs and make sure that in their new working environment, they will align with their superiors along those lines.
Contributors are usually loyal to their employers. As mentioned before, they often choose to work for companies and organizations whose mission and values resonate with their values, and identify themselves with these organizations. They also work hard on developing bonds with their coworkers, and this social capital makes them feel at work almost like home. That’s why they rarely jump jobs in search of a higher position or a little bit more lucrative contract.
Contributors are good diplomats by nature. They care about other people’s feelings and focus on building long-lasting relations at work. Therefore, they weigh their words when it comes to conflicts and differences in opinions on the team. Even if they need to criticize their colleague’s work, they don’t make it personal and they aptly sandwich the critics in between two compliments.
WEAKNESSES AT WORKPLACE AND CAREER PITFALLS
Seeking for Safety
Let’s be real: today’s job market is highly dynamic—and most probably, it won’t change from this point on. Today, you cannot be sure that your scope of duties will stay the same in five years from now—even if you keep the same employer and position. Despite that, many contributors seek safety in the job market. Despite the changing market conditions, they hope to keep the status quo and stay in one place in the future. They often fear fast changes in the job market and from the uncertain future—they would rather stop the world and enjoy the moment.
This attitude is not preferred by employers. Namely, employers enjoy adventurous employees who are always up to a new challenge, are interested in the recent developments in their field, learn fast, and don’t worry too much.
Poor Self-navigation Skills
Contributors are great negotiators… when it comes to negotiating for other people. However, when it comes to negotiating just for themselves, they often stutter and can’t stand their ground. For this reason, they have difficulties with negotiating salaries and promotions for themselves, and let their bosses send them off with the words, “At the nearest occasion, I promise!” In this situation, many contributors stay at one position for years and years, unable to negotiate better terms and at the same time, afraid to leave their workplace.
They also often linger in one workplace for way too long even when it happens to be a dysfunctional environment. They are afraid to break the status quo and leave, therefore, they often make way too many compromises at work. One day they may wake up and realize that they spent the last ten years working in a place where most employees are permanently stressed, hoping that one day it will all change for the better. And, it never changed.
Furthermore, although they are strong at developing relations in their close environment, contributors are often invisible beyond it—they don’t develop too many contacts in their field that might become their safety net in the job market in the future. When looking for new jobs, they need to fully rely on themselves and on their former colleagues.
Dependent on Other People’s Opinions
Contributors deeply care about what their boss and coworkers think of them. Of course, every employee should respect the opinion of their environment, and do their best to meet the standards. However, it becomes unhealthy when every single remark from your boss can make or break your day. Contributors desire to be valuable team members in their bosses’ eyes that even the smallest critical comment can profoundly stress them. Which is not a healthy approach for long-term career development.
Low Resistance To Stress
Contributors live a balanced life. They are well-organized and enjoy projects in which the dynamics and the roadmap are predictable. They prefer to keep a steady working rhythm and spend roughly the same amount of energy at work every single day, rather than speeding up just before the deadline. For this reason, whenever unpredicted circumstances come to play and a sudden change in plans puts pressure on them to suddenly increase the workload, contributors can feel deeply stressed. In almost any working environment and in almost every team, such situations will happen sooner or later, therefore, it is hard to guard yourself against them in the long run.
When contributors lose their working environment—for instance, as a result of reductions—they also lose the ground under their feet. They have a hard time accepting that for some time before they find their next job, they might have no office and no colleagues to work with on the daily basis. They don’t function well sitting at home and looking for jobs.
They also have a hard time handling unexpected, critical situations such as the corona crisis. When the lockdown was introduced, many professionals took it as an opportunity rather than as a problem. For many, working without the necessity to commute and the opportunity to cast all meetings online was a major time-saver and a chance to rest and recharge.
However, for most contributors, it was a source of stress as this unforeseen situation has put them out of balance. They were used to the certain working scheme and kept a good work-life balance while all of a sudden, they were pushed to mix the two—for many contributors, it was a new situation that they have never encountered before in their professional careers. This caused a wave of depression as well as other, associated mental health problems among contributors. One might think that it doesn’t make sense to stress out once you still have a job, plus, you get more time for your family. However, for contributors balance in daily life is so important that the lockdown was a major stressor regardless of the above.
EXAMPLES OF CONTRIBUTORS IN VARIOUS WORKING ENVIRONMENTS
Accountant, an employee of the Administration Department
Contributors feel comfortable in positions related to building infrastructure for their colleagues and/or for society. They are well organized, diligent, and stick to the procedures and deadlines.
Therefore, they are highly efficient as accountants, tax advisors, and employees of administrative departments. Contributors also populate ICT departments in public institutions and private companies, where they take care of the infrastructure within the company—hardware- and software-wise.
Event Organizer, an employee of the Department of Logistics
Contributors are strong at logistics and teamwork. No wonder that they often find jobs associated with organizing events and/or other logistic challenges: organizing transport, ordering products and services, taking care of the supplies.
Contributors are ambitious to organize top-class events and pay attention to the smallest detail. For instance, if they invite a guest speaker for an event, they not only care about the agenda, but also make the speaker feel welcome, introduce them to the audience with passion and humor, and don’t forget about a thanksgiving note and a farewell gift. They add their own touch to every event they organize. If you see an impeccable event where everything is well thought of, it was probably organized by a team of contributors.
Rather than choosing peaceful, stationary jobs, some contributors lead a nomadic lifestyle, e.g., as employees of artists, traveling the world and working behind the scenes of concerts, theatre plays, circuses, and other spectacles. You can develop an exciting lifestyle as a contributor!
Human Resources Officer, an employee of a Career Center
Contributors are not only great builders of infrastructure for events but also solid Human Resources Managers. They can take care of employees, make sure that employees have good working conditions, and objectively and diplomatically handle situations of conflict—if there are any.
Even if they don’t enjoy teaching, they are strong at arranging courses and other training opportunities for their employees. Therefore, they often work in Career Centers and educational departments.
Policy Advisor, Legislative Analyst
Legislative Analyst reviews new legislative projects to investigate how they will affect employees. As a Legislative Analyst, you can be employed in multiple branches of the job market, from public institutions to private companies. Surprisingly, this job usually doesn’t require a degree in law. However, it’s required to present strong communication skills since you will need to communicate your findings through reports, presentations, and appearances on the media.
In some cases, Legislative Analysts may also play an advisory role in the government and assess new bill proposals. They also communicate with the government, lobbyists, journalists, and representatives of the public opinion who might have questions about the new legislation.
There are two main types of Legislative Analyst jobs. On the one hand, legislative analysis can be focused almost solely on communication and networking. On the other hand, it can be focused on reading about the current legislation and writing reports/articles. As a Legislative Analyst, you can usually choose in which direction you prefer to develop.
Contributor in Arts
Contributors are also highly wanted in arts, especially in the movie and music industry. Every movie needs extras. Every choir needs choristers. Every dance group needs talented and well-synchronized dancers. Every orchestra needs dozens of talented and well-synchronized musicians. If you are talented in arts and oriented at teamwork, you will be welcome with open arms.
HOW TO DEVELOP A CAREER WITH THIS PROFILE?
How to Start a Career
Contributors usually start their careers quite smoothly. It’s all about finding the first job after finishing your higher education—which shouldn’t be hard if you are applying in a domain that was any related to the topic of your studies. Of course, networking always works best, therefore, going to business meetups in the end of your studies ad looking for jobs face to face is much more efficient than sending out hundreds of letters. You might also consider doing an internship. Employers are eager to accept young, energetic, flexible professionals for an apprenticeship at contributor roles even without much professional experience.
If you are more advanced in your career and you want to move to a contributor role, you might look for placements in your close working environment. Actually, these days, many professionals who develop careers in highly competitive fields where the chances of getting to the very top are slim—such as professional athletes or academic researchers—decide to leave their career tracks at some point, and move “to the sidelines” to support young and fresh professionals in their discipline.
Usually, there are some opportunities to find a placement as a contributor in your working environment, but many of your colleagues might have the same thoughts as you have. Therefore, in such cases, you need to think about this move in advance and make sure that you are well informed about new opportunities. Your superiors might also create a new placement for you if they share the opinion that as a contributor, you would be the right person at the right place.
Many professionals are afraid to ask around for contributor roles, thinking that their superiors will look at them as quitters. That won’t happen if you pitch in the right way. Just tell your boss that you see moving to a contributing role as the natural next step in your career plan, and your ambition—rather than saying that you are tired from competing.
How To Look for Jobs / How To Start Working
Contributor roles are typically announced online, on the websites of institutions and companies, as well as on social platforms such as LinkedIn. However, as mentioned before, networking is still the best way to get in. Managers leading teams of contributors care about keeping the positive vibe and the atmosphere of cooperation on their teams. They assume that once you join the team, you will stay for a long time. They naturally have a bias towards accepting candidates whom they have met before.
Therefore, always ask around for opportunities—not only among the people you are in touch with right now, but also former colleagues and former peers from studies, or even from high school. You might be surprised with the results—even if you haven’t been in touch for the last twenty years, they would still respond to you if they know anything that might be useful in your situation!
How To Self-Manage in Daily Life
Well, as a contributor, you need to learn how to handle work-related stress. Unforeseen circumstances and bad days at the office will happen sooner or later, and if you don’t develop some tolerance against it, you will suffer in the long run. Stress always creeps in slowly, day by day, and if you don’t develop effective mechanisms for unloading it, it will accumulate and slowly turn your life into a nightmare. Therefore, next to popular practices for relaxation (such as, e.g., meditation, yoga, or sauna), it is good to create a financial cushion for yourself and make sure that you don’t hatch the fear of getting unemployed and broke in the back of your head.
You also need to develop your internal sense of self-value, independent of your boss’ opinion and external circumstances. Of course, there is no one easy way to do it—most young people today have an issue with self-perception and suffer from low self-esteem. We live in a culture of success, in which every LinkedIn profile looks as if its owner was a superstar. You need to learn that there is a difference between public image and reality—and, that everyone has flaws as a professional. Your boss is also flawed, and might misinterpret certain facts or situations—they are not always right in their judgment.
Lastly, you need to keep in mind that to make real progress as a professional, you sometimes should refresh your career by changing the working environment. Employers no longer look warmly at employees who spent more than ten years in their former job. Yes, they value loyalty and prefer to keep good employees around for many years. However, if you spend more than ten years in one place, it might be a red flag to them—as a sign that you might be unwilling to take new challenges onto your plate.
Moreover, even if you wish to further develop a career in your current working environment, it might be impossible—as your unit might be tiny (five employees or less), and with no planned vacancies for many years to come. In that case, getting a diagonal promotion by changing the employer is your only option. And usually, it pays off to take the risk and take the challenge of finding a new employer on your chest.
EXAMPLES OF FAMOUS CONTRIBUTORS
Contributors are rarely in the spotlight because they highly prefer to leave the scene to other people. Nevertheless, many contributors received international acclaim for their contribution to society.
A German-Dutch author of Jewish origins. During the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Frank and her family were hiding from the Nazis between 1942-1944 in a few concealed rooms (often referred to as “the Secret Annex”) behind a bookcase in the office of Anne’s father, Otto Frank.
Four of his most trusted employees weed helping the Frank family, supplying them with food and keeping them informed about the progress with the war and political news. With time, they were joined by a few more people of Jewish origin. Frank documented her whole experience in a form of a diary.
In August 1944, the Frank family was discovered by Gestapo and transported to concentration camps. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp together with her sister, Margot. Otto Frank, the only survivor in the family, recovered the diary after the war and secured its publication. Her diary was published post-mortem as “The Diary of a Young Girl” (1947). The book gained international acclaim which led to the creation of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, visited by more than 1 million tourists each year.
An American astronaut, engineer, aviator, pilot, and Professor of Aerospace Engineering, the first person in history to stand on the Moon.
In 1949, she started his career in the Navy from a position of a midshipman. One year later, he got promoted to the naval aviator. He participated in the Korean War. After the war, he became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
He embarked on the Apollo 11 mission, and on July 20, 1969, Armstrong and his colleague, pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people on the Moon. He famously commented on this achievement with words “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Together with his colleagues from Apollo 11 mission, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon.
In 1985, he took part in a private expedition to the North Pole, together with Edmund Hillary, Hillary’s son Peter, Steve Fossett, and Patrick Morrow. Armstrong was a loyal servant to the American army and society. Despite his achievements, he was known as an extremely humble and private person, calling himself a hermit. After retirement from NASA, he moved to a dairy farm and started working as a lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. As his league from the Apollo 11 mission, Michael Collins commented, Armstrong “retreated to his castle and pulled up the drawbridge.”
An American activist and author. Famously, she initiated the Montgomery bus boycott.
In the fifties, public transport in America was still subject to racial segregation. In 1955, after all the seats in the “white” section were taken, Parks famously refused to empty one of the seats in the “colored” section of the bus on behalf of a white passenger. Her example inspired other black residents of Montgomery to boycott the racial segregation in the local buses, and search for justice in the judicial system. In November 1956, the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit led to the decision that racial segregation on the busses is not constitutional.
Initially, Parks suffered a lot of repercussions for her actions. She got fired from her job as a seamstress and she was getting death threats. However, eventually, she became a symbol of the movement against racial segregation and collaborated with multiple political leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. and Edgar Nixon. While on retirement, she wrote an autobiography. She remained an active contributor to the black community, fighting for its rights until the end of her life.
A Roman emperor (117-138).
He was not popular among the elites of Rome because, unlike his father and former emperor Trajan, he was not a fan of expansionism. He abandoned his father’s territorial trophies in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Armenia, and Dacia. Instead, he preferred to develop stable borders around the empire and unify the nation. Famously, he ordered building Hadrian’s Wall at the Northern border of Britannia. Instead of going on war campaigns to conquer other countries as his predecessors, he was spending time visiting every province of the empire together with the team of advisors, researchers, and administrators.
He improved on the level of discipline and military aptitude in the Roman army and subsidized various civil and religious institutions and architectural designs. He also built the Temple of Venus and Roma and rebuilt the Pantheon. He was also known as liberal to minority religions, including Christians. He developed a deep respect for the Greek culture and legacy, and eagerly supported Greek sacral buildings, architecture, and art. He dreamt of a cosmopolitan Roman Empire.
An American politician of Thai origins and Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, the junior United States Senator (2016-). After graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and George Washington University, she started her career in the army. She took part in the Iraq war and then, after the war, she took a position of a helicopter pilot in the American army. In 2004, her helicopter was damaged by the enemy in Iraq.
As a result of this accident, she lost both her legs and mobility in her right arm. Despite these injuries, she insisted on staying in service to the American army and continued her service within the Illinois Army National Guard until she retired as a lieutenant colonel (2014). Meanwhile, she started her career in politics as a representative of the Democratic Party. In 2012, she was elected to the US House of Representatives and served two terms.
Subsequently, in 2016, she won the elections to the US Senate, winning against the Republican incumbent Mark Kirk. She is the first woman of Thai origin elected to Congress, the first woman with a disability elected to Congress, the first female double amputee in the Senate, and the first senator to give birth during her term in the office.
An American military and politician.
In 1901, he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. A year later, he was sent to the first mission in the Philippines as a lieutenant of the Infantry. For the next forty years, he was serving in the army, where he was regularly promoted to more responsible positions. Until 1939, he climbed all the way to become the Chief of Staff, and then left the army and entered politics, serving as the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense under Harry Truman. He had major contributions to the success of the Allies in World War II, for which Winston Churchill called him “the organizer of victory.”
His contributions didn’t end there. After the war, as a Secretary of State, he led the American involvement in the post-war European recovery. He created the plan for rebuilding Europe, which was named after him and is now known as the Marshall Plan. In 1951, after 49 years of service, he retired and came back to his home in Virginia together with his wife. As a retiree, he fulfilled his passion for gardening and grew vegetables throughout the year, primarily tomatoes and pumpkins. In 1953, he received the Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.