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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Don’t Let Your Career ‘Just Happen’: Plan For The Unexpected 05-01

career unexpected

Don’t Let Your Career ‘Just Happen’: Plan For The Unexpected

As I braved arctic temperatures on my way into work today, I was struck by the similarity between careers and the weather.

In her capricious way, Mother Nature inflicted weather extremes on us this week. On Friday, my children were home enjoying a snow day, by Monday the snow was washed away by torrential rain and we were basking in a relative heat wave of almost 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And by Monday night, we were engulfed in a Polar Vortex with temperatures plummeting to -22 degrees Fahrenheit by morning.
Similarly, I’ve watched people’s careers plunge from the executive suite to the street for reasons beyond their control. At one moment company leaders are basking in success, and at the next they’re scrambling to pull resumes together, leaving scorched earth behind and looking for different (and hopefully greener) pastures.
Careers come and go, often through no fault of our own. They can be as uncontrollable and unpredictable as the weather. So how do you “insulate” your career so you can weather storms effectively – regardless if you are just beginning to scale the corporate ladder or you’ve been entrenched in a senior role for a while?
  • Work. Hard. Smart: Give whatever you do 110%+ effort. Don’t hold back. Don’t “coast.” Ever. Every day you are at work, bring your creativity, your enthusiasm, your knowledge, your skills, and a team mentality to the table for your peers, your management, and your company.
  • Be Mindful of Your Attitude: Be positive. Be humble. Be confident (aka, believe in yourself). Attitudes can derail a career as surely as major missteps will.
  • Embrace Change: Don’t be afraid to take risks – however you define them. Don’t be frozen in place and fearful of giving up the ‘same old-same old’ approach in favor of the ‘promising yet untested and untried’.
  • Be Curious: It doesn’t matter if you’re CEO running a Fortune 500 company or an analyst crunching numbers into the wee hours. Always ask questions and learn as much as you can. Learn from every person you meet, every meeting you attend, and every piece of news that catches your eye.
  • Plan For Contingencies (anticipate the rainy day just in case): Your network of contacts requires continuous care and feeding. Remember the rule of karma and build up those ‘karma points’ in the good times – just in case you need them at some point in the future.

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