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Your Career: “This is what it looks like!”

October 23rd, 2012

A while back my wife and I were at a three day conference that covered a lot of things (relationships, body language, goals, etc.).

At one point the speaker was talking about an ideal marriage (relationship).  Someone from the audience asked “what does it look like?”  She hadn’t ever seen this ideal relationship.

My wife leaned over and whispered “this is what it looks like.”

Ideal has… bumps and warts, as they say.

I think about people who had great careers.  We think about, talk about, read about their great careers.  But rarely do we delve into the difficulties of their careers.

I tend to mentally whine that careers nowadays can be too hard.  The transitions we experience every few years… how unfair, compared to the security they had in days long gone!

How much easier it would be to have a career back then, right?

As I’ve thought about this, I’m sure the person we think had an easier career had their problems.  Whether it was horrid/dangerous work conditions, unchecked discrimination, bad bosses, ignorance, unfair pay, etc, I’m sure there was always something that was troubling.

Of course today we have a bad economy, Enron-like ethics, layoffs and transitions with a frequency that those of yesteryear couldn’t fathom… and it’s harder, right?

What does your career look like? This is what it looks like.

This, with unemployment… even being unemployed for a long time!  This, is what your career looks like.  This is part of your story.

I don’t know, but I think that has to be okay.  I think the biggest part of your story, whether you can be proud of handling it well or not, enjoying life and being more than a job title, is your attitude.  During the good and the bad, how is your attitude?

Just like those we tend to immortalize, and perhaps wish we could have what they had, we have to weather it.

Will we complain and whine, or will we weather it with integrity and dignity?

I’m not saying you have to love it, especially the very hard parts.

But weather it well, my friends, because you are creating the story of your career.  You are creating what “it” looks like.

At the end of our career, it will have been us who defines whether we were successful or not.  It won’t be the economy, or our transitions, it will be how we deal with it.

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One response to “Your Career: “This is what it looks like!””

  1. Katie says:

    What a great reminder. My career has had it’s ups and downs (some big downs!), but if I hadn’t had the big disappointments, I wouldn’t be where I am today (where I just got a big promotion I’ve been working years to get!)

    One of my most-crushing disappointments actually ended up to be a good thing because it threw me back onto the job market. Six months later, after feeling like my dreams had gone down the toilet, I landed a dues-paying position at the company I’m at today. Two weeks ago, it paid off and I got the job I wanted so badly.

    Would it have been nice to have a secure job at a company that appreciated me and offered me a career path? Absolutely. But then I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    In my career, I’ve taken big risks – and I’ve failed. And every time I’ve picked myself up from the failure, I’ve moved forward rapidly. It has not been easy – but it has been an ideal career path for me.