A Career Wisdom Book?
Yes, there is such a thing. I know, because I invented it!
Having worked closely with hundreds of people, getting the inside scoop, and deep insights into many career paths and stories, I am here to report that everyone has good things and bad things happen during their careers. Most have both good and bad people enter their work lives, and experience both
good luck and bad luck. We’ve made some silly mistakes, have had impulsive actions, and also some brilliant moves, too. Such is life. The difference comes down to learning or not learning from our experiences. Thus the need for a Career Wisdom Book.
It’s vital that you examine your experiences, translate them into wisdom and move forward in a smarter way. Without reflection and depth you can repeat the same mistakes and not listen or watch for the same signals — that can be painful and frankly, unnecessary.
A Career Wisdom Book is where we track, log, reflect and learn from our career experiences. I encourage you to start your own! Integrate your wisdom, become more self aware. Identify and learn from your best practices and don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Here are three categories and examples:
1. POLITICS: You really need to watch which way the winds are blowing at work. Political winds:
Mike was working at a large corporation, managing an accounting team, and really didn’t pay attention when his upper management announced that the company was being purchased by a competitor and that company also had a strong accounting team.
Translation: The jobs in accounting are probably going away.
Mike did not ‘hear’ what was being told to him. He kept his nose to the grindstone and just kept working along. Since he was in the dark, he was not able to share impending layoff news with his team. Three weeks later they were all taken into that little room and given their good-byes.
LESSON#1 – Look beyond your job and your department. See what’s going on with the company. Look at the big picture and realize that as the big picture changes, your job might be impacted.
2. BAD BLOOD: If you and your boss are like oil and water, it is time to look for a new job. If it is very clear, for any reason, logical or not, that your boss really doesn’t like you or your work, look to leave. 99% of the time in those adversarial situations it does not get better, it only gets worse:
Sally was really enjoying her job in manufacturing and had reached supervisory level. When her boss left and a new person arrived she assumed he’d appreciate her as much as the last boss did. No, in fact she got the impression he didn’t like her from day one. She kept trying to please him but saw that no matter what she did he complained. Eventually he put her on probation and she was laid off before she had the chance to find a new job.
LESSON #2 -When you get a new supervisor or manager, try to get to know them. If it is clear that you have bad chemistry, quietly start your job search. It probably won’t work out, and better for you to find a good fit now than wait till you have lost your job. You are always more attractive to prospective employers when you are currently employed.
3. KEEP NETWORKING: Over 75% of new jobs and new opportunity comes from people we already know, people who are already in our network of work, family and friends:
Ken made sure to check in with his favorite former managers and colleagues at least twice a year. That is how he found his last great job. He happened to call his former manager who had just accepted a new position and needed to hire someone. He had no idea that Ken would be available but that one phone call opened the door and Ken happily went through it. It led to the best job he’s ever had!
Lesson #3 – Circle back to all of your colleagues, friends and family members who you like and who respect you. Keep track of them on a spreadsheet or a simple list or on your Linkedin. Make sure to check in with them at least twice a year. I’ll be surprised if new opportunities don’t come your way.
In other words, create your own luck!
Here are some questions that should prompt entries for your Wisdom Book:
1. What was the luckiest thing that ever happened to you at work? How did you manage that good luck? What did you learn?
2. Who was your best boss? What traits did he/she have that you should look for in a boss?
3. What did you wish you’d paid attention to?
4. Who are the top three great people you’ve worked with and how have you managed those relationships? What did you learn from them? Describe the kind of people you work with best with.
6. Who were the worst people to come into your career life? What did you learn? How could you have better handled those relationships? What are the signs you will now watch out for?
7. What types of work and environments have brought out the best in you? What should you look for in your next position?
Onward to the creation of your Career Wisdom Book.