Sunday, May 19, 2013

Career Makers, Career Breakers...Part 3

Another week and more Makers and Breakers.

Career Maker #5: Take calculated risks and succeed.
Those candidates who step outside of their comfort zone and take on new challenges can really accelerate their careers. Conversely maintaining the status quo, even if you are maintaining it well; may be viewed as a negative by many prospective employers. Certainly, we have clients who appreciate the candidate who has had a steady, patient career track; sticking with the same company and staying in the same position for years at a time. But there comes a point, where employers look at steady/patient and see limited potential/not career motivated. So if you do have a burning desire to advance your career, don’t get stuck. Look for new challenges and be willing to take on reasonable risks where there is a realistic opportunity to succeed.

Career Breaker #5: Taking too many risks, too often and failing.
This is the other side of the coin and as a headhunter I see this outcome way too often. The classic scenario is the young rising star, smart, hard-working and seems to have the golden touch. This star quickly reaches the upper limit with his current employer. It could be for a variety of reasons, some legit and some political. Regardless, the star becomes frustrated. The star just can’t drive 55. Along comes the big opportunity, the big title, the big money…come on down, the price is right. The star jumps in with both feet. Perhaps it’s mission impossible or maybe he just isn’t ready for prime time; for what ever reasons, he fails. But stars know how to rebound and they find another high risk, high reward gig; then another and another. One day they look up and they are staring down the barrel at 50 with a resume than looks like Swiss cheese. You don’t want to be that candidate.

Career Maker #6: Be Nice
Contrary to what many people say and think, Nice Guys (and Gals), seldom finish last. What we do often see is that those who finish first are the object of resentment, jealousy and scorn, thus sometimes are labeled as something other than nice. Being nice doesn’t mean that you have to be a soft touch, people-pleasing pushover. That is not a good strategy for career advancement. But, my experience is that most successful people are genuinely pretty nice people. They build strong relationships with people throughout their company, industry and community. They are well-thought of and respected. It is rare that a “not so nice” person succeeds over the long run. As always there are exceptions, but odds are that if you are a genuinely nice person, you will do much better in your career (and in life for that matter).

Career Breaker #6: Be an Asshole
As noted above, there are exceptions to the “nice” rule. There are truly some awful characters out there who seem to revel in being assholes. And they have figured out how to survive and thrive in their particular organization. But, do not model your career on these exceptions. If you are an “asshole” it will usually catch up with you. Most organizations do not want that person. Even if you’ve managed to rack up an impressive list of accomplishments, you will have limited opportunities and there will come a time when the only job you can land will be working for assholes who are as bad or worse than you are.

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person." - Dave Barry

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