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Just A Series of Choices


Steve’s a pretty regular guy – wife, 4 kids in their blended family, 12+ years of engineering experience, a degree, mortgage, car payments, some debt… and feeling depressed because he waited to look till the end. Last time he transitioned was 5 years ago for more money and he liked some of the people and it was simple…this time he’s heard some in his professional association have been looking for almost a year...and they weren’t lightweights. No wonder he’s sweating.

Steve’s wife can’t figure out why he’s so moody and angry…she doesn’t understand that Steve has feelings of rejection from a company he had been loyal to for 5 years. He had poured heart and soul into his projects. Even though he didn’t always agree with his manager’s direction, on a project he shepherded, he had been recognized for achievement. Gosh, only 2 years in and already a rising “star”.

In hindsight, Steve saw he had subtly butted heads on how the team was treated by management and that he made suggestions that “his bosses’ way” was backward. Things began to slip. It was more real when he didn’t get a merit raise. He didn’t fathom the basic tenet that consistent values with the management are fundamental to longevity. You see, Steve made an “easy” choice to compromise his work ethics and principles because he thought he was on the upside of lots of growth (money).

Choice #1 – Choose based on values – not only on personalities in the organization.

Now that his desk was cleared out, a few weeks to wind down was in order before he could mount the energy to start looking. After all, he deserved a break, didn’t he? It gave him time to think over what went wrong…to concentrate, to brood over the calamity that landed on him because others hadn’t done their jobs. It simply wasn’t fair…Jesse, their 6 year old, couldn’t understand why “daddy just sits in the den and won’t play with me anymore…”

Choice #2 – You have power to choose your reaction to difficulty. It was business, not personal, and even if it was personal, so what, get some support, get some direction, get some help to tackle this bump in the road and get on with life.

Steve’s wife finally pushed him to get his resume posted online…this is easy! What he didn’t know was the internet is only about 4% of the market and that less than 10% of the companies who have posted have ever hired someone from the internet. He has complacently fallen into a deadly trap believing quantity will always yield quality positions!

Choice #3 – Choosing to get a career by coincidence will seldom (read seldom as never) yield a role with expansive growth potential and long term satisfaction. It is not easy; it takes expertise, competitive edges of timing, better exposure and more powerful communications about capacity to win a position of your choice.

Eventually, Steve let a recruiter encourage him to “get his foot in the door” in a company a few states over. It was his only “egg in his nest” and a few steps back to where he had been 8-9 years earlier…and he’d have to leave Sundays and come back home Fridays since relocation wasn’t even offered. But what choice does he have – it’s been 11 months since he was let go and savings have dwindled and he’s tired of being a stay-at-home dad.

Choice #4 – Choosing to take a job will only spiral down his career, his confidence, his perceived capability and his cash. Being talked into – that is recruited/sold – a cookie-cutter position versus taking a position that has been engineered around him. There should be no question.

Well, Steve has gotten accustomed to the commute and his efficiency apartment and really looks forward to seeing his kids next weekend. The job is just that – he’s surviving, but there’s no challenge…same-o every day. That recruiter called back to say he’s got another job like this on the East Coast – Steve hung up on him this time…about all the energy he could muster. Been feeling really exhausted.

Choice #5 – Choosing to ignore his body cues of exhaustion only leads Steve to depression and powerlessness and feeling trapped again. Choosing to have proper rest, diet, exercise and balance of life invigorates.

Steve’s 17 month anniversary is coming up – he’s looking a little haggard from the day-to-day grind. It’s Friday, about 2 and Steve’s boss wants him to come to the conference room…and the HR person is there…

Choice #6 – Steve can choose to run this cycle again…or choose to purposefully utilize his full potential by proactively marketing himself.

It’s Steve’s choice…it’s his career…it’s his life… Then, again, maybe it’s not Steve; maybe it’s you???

About the Author

Bruce Benskin is a Regional Manager in Cincinnati for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. http://interviewing.com/
, a career marketing firm and organization celebrating over 24 years of providing strategic marketing solutions for its clients’ career transitioning needs.


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