My Holiday Wish: Career Courage

Every year when this special holiday time comes around, it seems like the perfect opportunity for me to write down my wishes. Plus I’d be lying if I said I don’t use any opportunity I can to share my hopes and dreams for the middle class with anyone who will listen.


Let’s just say the owner of the corner store and my dry cleaner know better than to start any employment-related conversations for the fear that I may jump up on the counter and go into a Norma Rae “Power to the people!” type of rant. Over the past 10 years I’ve used my experience as a direct-hire recruiter to study the phenomenon we call the “employee-employer relationship.” My research confirms that although the employer mindset has changed dramatically, the workforce has held stubbornly to the beliefs of yesterday. My new book, “No More Bad Advice,” identifies the 10 pieces of good-turned-bad advice and how this belief system is adversely affecting the way people view their careers.

I’ve heard it been said that there are only two motivators: Love and Fear. In a personal relationship, love prevails. In a work relationship fear wins every time, hands down. I see those two motivators at work every day. The work beliefs I describe in my book were based on a societal need that no longer exists – the fear of not being able to provide for our family has diminished greatly, thankfully – yet that frightened mindset still runs the show.

I wish more than anything that people would recognize how fear is impeding their ability to obtain all that they can. So I appreciate so deeply courageous people like Mark, who was downsized after 10 years with the same company. He was frantic and wanted to go back into the same type of job. Reflection led him to the reality that he hated the work he had done for the past three years. He turned down a job that was perfect on paper on used his skills in a way that he had never dreamed. There’s also Alex, who kept on being promised promotions and raises but heard year after year the woes of the company and saw promise after promise broken. She worked for wonderful people, so imagine her surprise when she found out how much her background was worth in the marketplace.

I am humbled to report many career success stories in 2013 that all had a common denominator: a new job resulting in a huge promotion and pay increase. People started to change how they thought and everything else fell into place one baby step at a time. So my wish with the renewal of a new year around the corner is to think about what scares you and ask yourself, “If you put your fear aside, what can you accomplish?”

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