Your Greatest Enemy Is You

Mika Brzenzinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe with former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough and daughter of former National Security Advisor in the Carter Administration Zbigniew Brzenzinski has a new book on personal growth and careers in Knowing Your Value. 

Mika, who started her career as a reporter for CBS News and whose reports frequented 60 Minutes was fired unceremoniously by the Tiffany of Network News Divisions before landing on her feet with NBC News and their various cable outlets. Morning Joe became an instant hit for the struggling, liberally-positioned network after the demise of Don Imus and his racially-tinged remarks about the Rutgers University Women’s basketball team in 2008.

The politically balanced Scarborough and Brzenzinski duo makes for interesting viewing and intellectually challenging counter-programming to the typical morning entertainment shows found on the legacy broadcast stations at the break of dawn weekdays.  Both would be considered moderates in their respective political beliefs which is ideal for a worthwhile discussion of the daily political events.

She found herself without work for nearly a year in the transition from CBS to NBC and it literally changed her life, “This is a difficult business to get into and it’s even harder to get back in, but the year off forced me to step back and take stock of myself and where I wanted to be and what was right for me and my family.  I had some offers, but nothing I felt good about and nothing that fit into the family situation.”

In a revelation to her Williams College Alumni Newsletter in November of 2008 she rhetorically asked: “You know what I learned from all of that? ”  She continued: ” Never be afraid to take a step back or a huge step back and work hard to find the right situation.”

Though her new book emphasizes the professional balancing act of females and compensation disparity in American society, one can extend the message way beyond the singular gender.  One of the most revealing comments in the book was that “she was her greatest enemy.”  It only reinforces the underlying belief that if we are to succeed we must believe in ourselves and in our numerous and varied talents.  That is where the real value of oneself comes into play.

In marketing ourselves to potential employers it is vital to know not necessarily what the recruiter or search committee is interested in but more importantly what we value in ourselves.  Our talents that we bring to the table are unique and if we are to position ourselves above and beyond all those other candidates that are in line for the position that we have an interest in we must be creative, honest and demanding of ourselves.

Creative in packaging our uniqueness and experiences so that potential employers can visualize that we are something very different, very special and a person they will not be able to live without.  This is your brand and this is your opportunity to shine.  Do take advantage of it.

Honesty is far and away the most important  task that we have before ourselves.  We must be honest about why we find ourselves in this transition in the first place.  Was it my doing or could I have done something to prevent the occurrence?  Secondly, we need to be honest in what and where we want our future to take us.  Am I enjoying my working life or is it just a stop along my career path?  Though financially you certainly want to get back up on your feet as soon as possible it is important for you to be honest with what you want for yourself in the future or you might be back in this predicament faster than you think.

Demand continual redevelopment and refinement of yourself and demand that despite the fact that your career is stuck in neutral right now while you are in the middle of a lengthy search process, you need to continue to grow both professionally and personally.  Though you find yourself in transition, that is no excuse for a lack of growth.  Why not write that article or book that you have been promising yourself all these years?  Why not go back to school and finish up that Graduate Degree that you told yourself you would complete if you only had the time? Finally, why not expand your horizons and consider something new and different?  How about learning how to cook or master the computer or improve your golf game!  It keeps your mind strong, your perspective fresh and your life interesting while you keep looking for just the right new employment opportunity.

Your greatest enemy is yourself and once you finish that battle you can move forward to experience future successes.  It really is all up to you during this transitionary period.  Take advantage of the down time but be productive so that once you are gainfully employed that  you can move forward with excitement and anticipation for what is to come and not concern yourself of what was prior or what could have been.

Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career.  He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words and 75 postings on the topics of job search and career transition.  He can be contacted at:


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