Anyone who believes they are a great multi-tasker is living in la-la land. There is no such thing? Why? Because of the way people are built. No human can think two thoughts at once nor can they do two things at once.
Prove it, you say, because you are likely going to say, “I do it all the time. I’m great at it and people have said so.”
What does multi-tasking mean, exactly? To most people, it means the ability to do several things at one time. You simply cannot. You may be going at the speed of light doing one thing after another in a very short period of time, but no matter how fast you are doing things, you are still only doing one thing at a time.
You don’t believe me – you say you can. Prove it to yourself.
Try this – put three balls in your hands Throw one ball up and try to catch it. Likely, that’s easy. Now, throw two balls up at once and try to catch both balls at once – can you do it? Not unless they land in your hand both at the same time in the such a way that you can grip both of them at once Yes, you can catch both in one hand, however, one will be caught or moved to the lower part of your palm and the next week shortly after with your fingers – still, you’re catching one ball at one time – not two. Or you’ll drop the one you caught while catching the other. Now throw all three balls up in the air and try catching all three at once – at least one of the those balls will land on the floor while your mind concentrates on catching one ball at a time.
Look at jugglers – are they catching their balls or pins all together? No – it’s one at a time and because they are skilled, can likely hold two, three, four or more balls or pins in each hand. While they are juggling, it’s one at a time from hand to air.
Employers who include multi-tasking in their job descriptions are telling me they want people to do a lot of work in a very short period of time and at the time of posting the job, they don’t really understand what they want that person to accomplish during the hours they are contracting that person’s time.
If you are looking at this kind of ad, then you can think of it in several ways:
– the employer doesn’t really know what they want the new person to do
– the employer means something else entirely – maybe they mean someone who works fast or thinks fast or is able to organize themselves efficiently
– it’s a workplace in chaos or it is chaotic in which case ask yourself if that is the type of environment in which you want to work
– it’s an opportunity, if you are an organizer, to help this employer organize better.
– there is an opportunity to design your own job because it’s clear the employer is unclear about their needs – but do you really want to take that on?
If you are still interested, then try to get an interview – and find out, through your questions, what is going on in that business. Is it something you can deal with effectively? Are they the type of people you can work with? Are they looking for an employee or a slave? Do they expect from this person what they themselves can’t do or deliver?
Either it’s an opportunity or a nightmare waiting to happen – only you can make that choice. You need to know there is a choice and the question is can you work with it or will it work against you?