Karmic Career Advancement

By Mike Rothman

Levelling up in the real world.

When you are looking out for the welfare of your organization instead of focusing on what you can get for yourself, that’s when you’ll be given the chance to do more and own more.

Wendy provides some hard-earned career guidance on promotions. She presents a great list on what won’t get you promoted and what you shouldn’t do. Wendy talks about the hazards of being irreplaceable, but ultimately gets back to the real secret. It’s not about you. Yeah, it’s about karma, if you believe in that kind of stuff. Do the right thing for your organization without worrying much about how it will impact your pay or title, and good things will happen. Maybe not within that specific organization, as sometimes you’ll need to switch horses if there is nowhere to move. But the point is the same. Work consistently. Stop climbing over people on your way to the top. The big jobs can be overrated. But ultimately it’s about doing the right stuff, consistently. I talked about that in yesterday’s Incite.

But I will mention one key aspect of career planning. Be careful what you wish for. Don’t be ashamed if your boss’s job is not interesting to you. That’s okay. What’s not okay is to accept a promotion or added responsibility that will make you unhappy. You’ll suck at the new job. You will become the problem. You’ll be moved out. That’s the anti-promotion. So if you like what you do, then do that. Live your life without regret.

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@Jim, great reference to “First Break All the Rules.” Back when I actually had to manage folks, I used that approach extensively to get to know my team and make sure they were put in positions to highlight their strengths, as opposed to overcome their weaknesses.

I’m also a big fan of the StrengthsFinder approach to periodically revisit what I’m good at. I would buy the book for all my new team members and have them go through the assessment. Then we’d use that as the basis to determine their goals and aspirations.

Awesome recommendation.

By Mike Rothman

Excellent post Mike. The link to the “Living Without Regret” article was much appreciated and sums it up nicely.

I’m Old School and we have a saying that captures the essence as well:  Be Here Now

I’ve only stayed at jobs that engaged my passion. Thus I’ve only had two employers in 25 years. In each organization there was a single owner of the business who was my boss and in both cases my promotions came based upon how much I threw myself into the work of building that business. My deep desire for doing what it was that I did allowed my Karma to bloom without worrying about moving up or advancing. I created my own advance as the company and my fellow employees benefitted from my following my bliss.

I highly recommend another outstanding source for this learning:

First Break All The Rules
1999, The Gallup Organization
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Simon & Schuster

1 million employees, 80,000 managers, and 1 billion customers were interviewed over 25 years to discover “what the world’s greatest managers do differently”.

It’s real world data, not theory, and like your essay contains seeds of Karmic success.


By Jim Bardo

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