Most Important Career Advice

My #1 piece of career advice:  Be a realistic optimist.  Be able to say to yourself, “OK self, this is what just happened.  What can I do based on the givens of the situation?”  Another way to state it: always be willing to move to Plan B.  Or C or D.  This advice fits any career (or life) situation . . .some examples:

  1. Your organization is merging with another one and the facility at which you currently work is closing.
  2. You thought you had put in your time and done the work to be next in line for the big promotion.  Your organization hires someone from the outside.
  3. You’ve gone to a leadership course requiring 360 degree feedback.  The majority of the respondents find you abrasive, ego-driven, and wouldn’t follow you if given a choice.

Notice, my advice is REALISTIC optimist . . .ACTION-ORIENTED optimist, not “zippidy-do-da-day” things will be fine and I don’t need to figure out what to do.  People with great careers do something when things don’t work as planned.  So allow yourself shock, anger, disbelief for a short amount of time.  Go through the phases of transition.  Then follow the advice of WWII posters in Britain:  Keep Calm and Carry on.

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