As Katie Couric leaves her post at CBS News she leaves behind a legacy of momentous interviews (remember Sarah Palin in 2008) and on-the-spot breaking news reporting. She also leaves behind a new book, The Best Advice I Ever Got, proceeds from which will benefit Scholarship America. The book was developed from a commencement address she gave at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland from which she solicited the best advice you have ever received from a gaggle of newsmakers, celebrities and business professionals.
One of the most poignant anecdotes comes from current Sony CEO, and former head of CBS Howard Stringer; “Never worry about the next job. Do the one you have better than anyone else.”
It is most unfortunate that many are so concerned about members, Board Directors and fellow staffers looking over their shoulder that you never can feel comfortable in what you are achieving and accomplishing for those who you are currently leading. American Society loves a success story, we root for the underdog and we adore those who make a name for themselves. We also love bringing those at the pinnacle of success down to our level. Arrogance is a virtue most of us would like to eliminate. We love a scandal and we love gossiping about it.
Much of the same can be said of those who succeed at their jobs. We embrace their success but why is it that we feed off or even feed the beast by not always being as supportive as possible of those who make tough decisions that result in a positive bottom-line for the association or company?
We live in a “what have you done for me lately” era. None of us can live off our laurels for very long these days, but such a MO will fail to bring the best out of those who manage the entity. A little fear is certainly motivational but if you live with it on a daily basis most experts will advise finding a new position or a new career.
Howard Stringer’s advice is one everybody should take to heart. If you are proud of your accomplishments and you have done your best, then what else can they ask of you or of yourself? Obviously we all have considered where we want to be next in our career but for most of us that is a fleeting moment in the shadow of any given day. Our continual focus is an operational approach that will get us to the finish line at our current job. There are too many fires to put out every day to worry about tomorrow and likewise, if you are worrying about tomorrow those fires may singe your toes before you know it, today.
For those who are in an employment transition, it goes without saying that your unending focus must be on finding a new home where you are comfortable and where you can make a difference. During your interviews and research on the new organization, make sure that you take into consideration all aspects of what you have discovered and what you have heard. You don’t need to get back into the fire now that you have found comfort with your departure.
Of course we all have a mortgage to pay but those who have been in a job search before will emphasize time and time again – don’t just take the first job offered. The position might be the best thing since sliced bread but if your gut is telling you no, make sure you consider all ramifications of that offer.
* Have you met the Leadership of the organization (past, present and future)?
* Have you determined how the last Executive departed?
* Are there unbelievable expectations being placed upon you?
* Have you been exposed to the financials?
* Have you interviewed the staff?
* When will be your first review?
* Is it an organization that you need to ask for permission or ask for forgiveness?
Transitions are a great opportunity to find the next best place. Don’t hurry into something that may not be what you ultimately would want. Nothing is perfect or fool-proof, but please, please make sure you are happy with your decision. There are too many examples of knowing that an employment selection mistake has been made during the first week on the job. Like a marriage, you always need to work at it but if you are having second thoughts early on, well the likelihood of divorce is certainly inevitable.
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 or 75 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transitions. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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