was so frustrated on Sunday September 13th, 2015 because I could not find a Sunday New York Times in Northwest Philadelphia! I searched high and low for a copy because this was the BIG Fall Issue. Literature, arts, entertainment, business and politics along with fashion and sports, are the key draw. This is the annual issue that weighs a couple of pounds and is just chock-full of good information. I was intrigued by a couple of stories in this issue, and it got me to thinking about careers and career management. The Sunday NYT always has great life lessons and this issue had plenty.
One article dealt with self-confidence in the workplace. I think this is such a critical area and is an attribute that needs to be developed and exhibited in many work situations. Being self-assured is infectious and people notice when you are confident. The confidence factor is something that can’t really be taught, it has to be developed and nurtured. Having the skills and determination to do specific jobs and tasks are what employers and senior leadership look for at promotion time.
Another good story was from a former Microsoft executive who now heads a non-profit that feeds hungry people in New York City. Her advice to young job seekers is to go “wide before you go deep”. People should be looking to get lots of experience that can transfer to other areas or that can crossover to other industries. After some time exploring and getting experience, then it is probably time to go deep. This is when you go into the industry and find the specific role that is a good match. Hopefully this will be the place where you will spend a good part of your career. Good career advice.
Another part of this same story is the transition from high level IT executive to socially conscious community activist. I found this interesting and important because it shows that despite much public opinion, some high-level executives actually do have a social conscience. In some circles, business executives are not viewed in the best light. This former Microsoft executive explained that she had achieved everything and had reached the top of the ladder. She wanted to do something more. She is now building a legacy and the mark that she will leave behind. I’m sure many job seekers cannot begin to think about a change like this because they are trying to make ends meet. The overall take away in both of these articles is that job seekers and career changers really need to do lots of research as they pursue opportunities. This research needs to be both internal (what do I really want) and external (would I like working for this company) and then see if there is some match before taking the plunge. Job seekers need to discuss and assess their own value system and personal requirements including their confidence level. Using a dual combination such as this is a good way to make sure everyone is a winner in the end.