Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
by Joan Tabb in Blog
That sentiment, though shared by me, was written by quite a successful woman who all of you (unless you’ve been living under a rock) will recognize—Oprah Winfrey.
And you know, if you listen to Oprah’s stories, she didn’t always get it right, and she certainly had many obstacles and difficulties in her path, as most of us have.
But I love the idea that the new year marks a break and a new beginning…a new chance to do things differently and do things better.
Albert Einstein has wisely advised us that the definition of insanity is to keep on doing what we’re doing and imagine we’ll get a different outcome. As counter intuitive as it sometimes feels, we’ve sometimes got to do what that country singer tell us and figure out ‘when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em’.
I just had a client leave my office who has been doing the same wonderful work for 30+ years; his quality has never wavered, but his clientele has dwindled. He’s realizing that although it’s not time to fold in his skills; it is time to reposition, retell his story and find ways to market his great skills but in new ways, to new audiences.
Change is never easy. Another client is a young man who, in his mid-twenties, is now ready to transition to a professional career track from, let’s say a not so professional track. His college history is coming to haunt him, though. At the time, at a prestigious, name brand university, he said his goal was to graduate in 4 years. And he met that goal. But sadly, his goal did not include any particular standards. He graduated with just under a 2.0; not a particularly impressive GPA and one that we clearly will not be promoting as he interviews with potential employers. “What were you thinking during college?” I asked him. He said, “I was thinking that I just wanted to complete school and get my degree. I loved the classes in my major area of study and did very well in them. But when I didn’t care about the other courses and got many Ds, at the time, I just thought it was fine that I passed.” He now wishes he had set the bar much higher.
Think about your current work or life situation. Are there areas where you’re letting yourself be satisfied with just getting by? Perhaps with this new year it’s a time for new beginnings. Take stock of your performance, of your standards. Perhaps you can aim a bit higher. Go for the A’s or B’s if you’re taking classes. Improve your weekly performance write-up to your manager. Build new relationships and forge new alliances at work. Update your linked.in, put together a new resume, get new references.
We’re coming on 2011…here’s your chance, once again, to get it right!