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The Benefit of a Quick Backward Glance_4697

Posted 11-28-2012 at 09:21 AM by 673448941

Your career. No matter how long you've been at it, your career has a memory and a history that deserves recognition. Now before that idea goes way over all of our heads, let me say it a different way. There is a benefit to looking back.
Some say "don't look back" and "the past is the past". Hogwash.
I believe there is tremendous learning to be done not only in retrospect but, more importantly, in watching how you changed as a result of each experience. As a result of each boss. As a result of each company. And as a result of each co-worker.
I have always told people that I learned something great from every boss or mentor I've had in my career. Sometimes it was learning what not to do, however. Here are some examples of both:
Thanks - I had a boss early in my career (when I was still wearing suspenders) who, having noticed the commitment I was making to the company, invited me to his office and handed me $100. He wanted me to take my wife out for a nice dinner since he knew my quality time was being spent at the office. I will never forget the impact of that gesture.
Punctuality - My first sales trainer chewed me up one side and down the other when I arrived with a clean car, a perfectly organized sales book and a nice suit. Problem is I arrived on time - not 15 minutes early (his view of on-time).
Pressure - The first time I (at age 22) worked with my region manager to show him my new territory it was a cold and snowy day in Denver. He gets in my company car,Air Jordan 2 (II), puts a cup of coffee (no lid) on the dash and says "let's go. don't spill the coffee". I think this was his version of my walking on rice paper. Guess what? It spilled.
Common sense - In the old days of entertainment budgets and getaway sales meetings, our region's finance guy decided to have a few extra drinks during dinner, brought an extra beer on the bus for the ride back to the hotel and proceeded to pour the beer over my head,Nike Dunk Mid. He later was seen crawling through the hotel lobby with no shirt and no shoes. It reminded me of The Shining (Jack Nicholson).
Feedback - A prior supervisor was not good at reviews. Check that. She didn't give them. For two years. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed and always vowed to make reviews an important part of the relationship with my teams.
Team - I worked for a VP/GM who created a very powerful and efficient team. We succeeded in ways that I had never seen before and we did it through team work. There were no sales or marketing boundaries, no arguments between quality assurance and product development. This team had a clear mission and, by the way, we spent a lot of time together having fun and winning.
So this is one way to look back. To review the people and your experiences with them. Especially those that shaped you in your young career.
So how does this relate back to job search?
Well, as I look back, I:
- did not always make the right decisions
- twice lived with a horrible commute (2+ hours each way on some days)
- worked long hours to get projects complete only to find them delivering minimal impact
- accepted job offers to solve a problem vs. to complete a well thought out strategy
- allowed others to steer and influence my career - eventually taking a very traditional path
Were these examples good or bad for my career and life? Not sure,Air Jordan 13 Kids. Although a few of them seem very short sighted now. Regardless, each decision I made back then, along with the resulting experience, prepared me for the future. And, in their own unique way, each experience and decision make me who I am today.
The other value of looking back is to see patterns and to see (as only hindsight will allow) the logic in decisions that did not seem so logical at the time. For example, I interviewed ferociously for jobs that seemed perfect at the time. Now looking back I see the reasons why I was not hired and I realize that the company made the right decision for us both. Had I only known!
If we could only see the patterns forming before us, we could be so much more confident and directed in our job search efforts, right? So since we can't see forward we must use our memory of what it is like to look backward. And seeing those patterns, try to realize that actions by a recruiter, hiring manager or company that did not benefit you will likely be made reasonable and correct once the right context is added a few years down the road.
What are the practical lessons for this?
- If you don't get a call back when you thought you would, let it go.
- If you were really close to getting a job offer but didn't, move on.
- If recruiters aren't calling you back for a job that seems perfect for you, it isn't.
Every one of these small decisions will form into a larger pattern. Confidently approach your job search but don't fight the results. You'll likely see the wisdom someday and can begin to see your own pattern.
Young in your career? Don't worry, we have trampled a path for you.
"I know youns hooligans are in them woods. Come out now n' youns won't be in any trouble. Otherwise, youns are all gonna end up in jail," he hollered. Who did he think he was kidding? There wasn't one of us that had sucked on a titty bottle for quite some time. He wasn't doing nothin' now but losin' money by standin' jawin' at us and he knew it. Still cussing, he crawled back into his truck and rattled off down the road to town with engine roaring. It was safe for us to laugh now and we put shame on the hyenas."Let's do it again," Nonick laughed. "I sure am glad my family moved to this here town. There was no fun at all to be had in the town that we came from. I wanna string the paper this time.""Sure Nonick, it's time you done somethin' on your own. It's one of our rules. Before you kin be a native son, so to speak, ya gotta do somethin' all by yer ownself," Smokey told him.
It wasn't long before the bony truck came chugging back up the hill toward the bony dump carrying a full load. When it passed us and things looked safe, Nonick slipped down to the road and began to string the paper again. He did a good job of it, it being his first time and all. We didn't have long to wait before the truck had dumped its load and started back down the hill toward town. This time he was going even faster than the bat that chased the bug. There was no mistaking it. The truck's motor roared. That truck never so much as slowed down. His truck ripped through the toilet paper without making a whisper.Wizzer laughed and said, "Fellahs, that there driver thinks he has got our number. Well, I have got a surprise fer him. Come on. While he's gittin' loaded agin, we're gonna git a couple of them railroad ties up there by the side tracks n' bring them down here."
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