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White Jeans – Establishing a Broader Career Footprint


Posted by Glasco, Christine at Thursday, 08/30/2012 4:11 pm
 
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I attended a mini family reunion last week. In anticipation of Labor Day, my sister – the fashion Maven – asked the question: “Do you wear white jeans after Labor Day?”

The guys decided not to dignify the question with a response but all the ladies, even my 92-year old Aunt, weighed-in.

- “Definitely not.”
- “I wear winter white.”
- “I have off-white pants but they don’t look good on me – so, no.”
- Of course, my response was: ”I wear what I want to wear, when I want to wear it. And yes, I wear white jeans after Labor Day!” (Smile: I was wearing White Jeans on that very day.)

Not to be outdone, my male cousin addressed a question to the guys: “If you want to cook a ¾-inch thick burger on a gas grill to medium doneness, how long would you leave it on the grill?”

Note: The girls (at 92, my Aunt loves being called a girl) were silent (we knew that if we wanted the guys to continue to do all the grilling, then we should say nothing).

- “Three-and-a-half minutes each side.”
- “Two minutes each side.” (Yikes – that’s raw!)
- “Five minutes each side.” (Hey – that’s a hockey puck.)
- How hot is the grill?

There was dissent among the guys and lots of kidding directed to our host who has been known to lose a hot dog or two to the Burn Gods!

What does this have to do with managing your career or achieving your leadership career growth objectives?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a Blog on The Life and Times of a Career Coach. In that post, I dispelled a couple of myths that people believe about career coaches.

I now want to begin a discussion of what I call: Career Coach Truths.

Career Coach Truth # 1

You have an educational and work history background; a set of competencies, capabilities and skills; and, a reputation surrounding your accomplishments that is the fabric of your unique Career Story.

This set of data points is so exclusively arrayed - remember: ‘Every leader’s career is as unique as a fingerprint’™ – that others can identify your unique attributes and irrevocably link them to your brand. Just ask a Trusted Advisor or Mentor to tell you the elements of your Leadership Career Brand or your Personal Brand. They will tell you your characteristic behaviors and ‘differentiators’ that you never even considered.

So, here’s the truth:

No two Business Development Execs are 100% alike. No two Human Resource Directors are alike. No two General Managers are absolutely alike.

How This Gets Played Out In Real Life

When I coach leaders who are in career transition – I help them to carefully peel back the layers of their past successes and roles, so that they will be able to easily describe their candidacy and Value Proposition for new roles.

As part of this process, we discuss if they are in a growth or declining industry. Then, I ask them to articulate and ‘language’ the type of role they are seeking and other employment options that might be a fit:

“Based on your strengths, capabilities, and unique Personal Brand, other than finding an exact duplicate of your immediate past role, what other options or roles might be a fit for you?”

Invariably, they have no clue as to what other roles might be a fit or in what other ways, or how they can live their best career destiny. I assign them the task of clarifying their primary pursuit (the role that most closely matched their previous job) and I ask them to create a description of three or four additional roles or options.

Establishing a Broader Career Footprint

Begin the process by focusing on the one or two roles that are similar to your most recent role(s).

1. Identify your strengths and competencies for achieving success in the role(s).

2. Define any issues that might prevent you from being considered as the ‘candidate of choice’.

3. Figure out if you have development issues that need to be addressed and write a plan of action to address the issues.

4. Next, think more broadly and identify your competencies and strengths for being successful in other roles not aligned with your current career.

5. Identify the issues that might prevent you from being considered as the ‘candidate of choice’ for these completely different roles.

6. What do you need to start doing now to develop your candidacy for these roles?

7. Write a plan of action to address the issues.

We all have career preferences, decisions, and choice points. Even though you have a first, best destiny; you also must consider other options for achieving your career goals, when you are faced with:What does wearing white jeans after Labor Day and the best way to grill a medium burger tell us about managing our careers?

* Finding a new job in a slow economy
* Being type-cast in a declining industry
* Competition due to a market glut of college graduates
* Competition from aging ‘boomers’
* Jobs in your career field that have been off-shored
* Long-term unemployment

It’s the same as wearing white jeans or grilling burgers. You will need to broaden your career footprint and develop other options if you want to ensure continued career growth.

A question for you to consider:

- Do you have additional career options other than roles that are similar to your current role? If you are concerned that you have not moved your career forward, or have not identified other viable options or industries, contact me at: cglasco@charter.net

PostScript: Be on the lookout for future Career Truths.

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