A procurement expert has advised practitioners seeking career advancement in their procurement and supply chain jobs not to place responsibility for their own progression on their companies or their managers but to understand the psychology of success: shouldering personal responsibility for their day-to-day work.

Writing in Supply Chain Dive, Rich Weissman, a procurement veteran turned college professor, cites the example of a procurement practitioner who approached him shortly after he (Weissman) had taken on a new role as a procurement manager.

The employee complained that he hated his working conditions, explaining that he was too busy, that he disliked his commodities, that his suppliers didn’t care, and that his office was too small.

He beseeched Weissman to make his life better at the firm, and implied that he would walk if things didn’t improve.

Weissman was aware of studies, such as recent research from the University of Southern California, that demonstrate that job satisfaction is optimal among employees who feel engaged with the firm and well compensated, and who believed that they were respected by management and had sufficient job security – so employers do have some responsibility for building those conditions.

Yet this particular employee concerned Weissman.

From discussions with other procurement managers, he was aware that there was a stark difference of attitude within the profession: some complained about burnout, unrealistic expectations, and believed that things couldn’t get worse, yet others were upbeat, eager to face the challenges of the work and rearing to go. 

Weissman asks why there is a difference, and he believes that the answer resides in personal responsibility: practitioners in supply chain and procurement jobs who understand and accept their work and shoulder personal responsibility for it are less susceptible to burnout and dissatisfaction.

He urges procurement pros, including procurement interims, not to view the tactical aspects of their work as beneath them: the belief that they ought all the time to be strategists at the front line in high-profile work leads not to satisfaction but to cumulative unhappiness.

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