Career Warfare Rule 10 Everybody Coulda Been a Contender; Make Sure You Stay One

Most people start their career with big dreams and ambitions. yet at some point their career grinds to a halt, with nothing to show for decades of work except a dull and forgettable personal brand. Middle age and mid career are especially dangerous, as your responsibilities outside of work are growing. Its easy to coast, become a cog in the machine, and wind up with mediocrity. So if you are not content to be a quiet quitter,:

  1. Don’t be a Generic, Be Tylenol
    Even though generic acetaminophen is cheaper than Tylenol, people still flock to the latter, because it has a stronger brand. Don’t turn generic in middle age, and don’t be afraid to part ways with more generic peers. Distinguish yourself from them.
  2. Get Back On The Horse
    You may get passed over for a promotion, but its foolish to give up after a few setbacks.
  3. It Never Hurts To Ask
    Ask your boss why you are not getting promoted, and what is needed to get to the next level.
  4. Never Sell Your Brand Short For Money
    Don’t sell yourself short. Once people know you can be bought for 5-10% of your salary, they no longer have to give you interesting opportunities at work or offer you career growth. They can throw a few trinkets to keep you happy. Don’t let the short term prospect of a small bump in pay keep you out of the running for bigger jobs down the line.
  5. If Lightning Is About To Strike, Make Sure You are Standing In An Open Field
    Sometimes life will hand out and give you an opportunity to shine. Although you can’t make lightning strike, you can stand in an open field. Position yourself so that you will maximize your chances. If your org is headed by executives close to retirement, then stay and do not accept the job transfer. Always be on the lookout for unexpected opportunities, and be ready. As they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
  6. Gamble Shrewdly
    Sometimes you must make a bet on your brand. Taking on a difficult project carries with it risk of failure, but the payoff is huge. Your reputation will be that of someone who steps in when others could not or would not, and did the needful.
  7. Create A Brain Trust
    As mentioned in the book, Think And Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, create a mastermind group of people who have political savvy that you can turn to for advice.
  8. Tinker With Success
    Make adjustments and experiment on your brand. It is not too late to make changes. Don’t be too deadset in your ways and think that you don’t have to answer to anybody.
  9. Do Not Cross The Lines Of Integrity
    Do not lie, cheat or steal. The damage to your brand will be irreparable.
  10. Understand That The Unexamined Reputation Is Not Worth Having
    To sum up the book: “Be conscious every day of what you are building”. Every day you are telling others a story based on the words you use, the way you treat others, and how you look. You are actively building your brand, and creating the person that others will remember and think of. Be aware of what you are creating. Create through your actions; it is not enough to think you are a great leader. Show it and live it.

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