Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Radical Truths

My Radical Truths

Analysis of Sally Hogshead’s “Radical Careering”

Radical Truth 02: Revolution is the new Status Quo (Change)

Change seems to be an all-important idea these days. From the ’08 Presidential election to Main Street, the common outcry seems to be “CHANGE!” Our older generations are still extremely weary of the concept, implementing tried and true (though dangerous) business practices when they should be tapping out, while us young guns are willing to flip upside down to see if change can bring about a better solution. Remember: Each generation will one day become the future leaders of our country. This fact is my Prozac for unpleasant work situations and a boss who thinks alphabetizing a Rolodex for a work project translates into a meaningful experience. I’m better and more educated then that simple task requires, but I’m willing to put in my “dues”, play the game, and secretly plot my revenge. Ok, so the revenge part I’m kidding about (sort-of) but I understand that change is here, NOW. Though I’m currently at the bottom of the food chain, I know how to adapt to that six letter word and work my way upwards and onwards. We’ve been told that business as it was known is obsolete with no guaranteed raises and nice martini lunches; well I have one word for that, DUH! Though it could be nice, screw martinis and screw comfort. I don’t want to practice the same type of business my father did, I want to CHANGE it for the better.

Radical Truth 08: Work is hard

I wish someone had told me this four and a half years ago when I started college. If I had known then what do now, I would have gone for my MRS. degree and not my bachelors. Seriously, work is hard, I agree. Not only is it hard in the sense that your actual responsibilities are daunting, but the relationships you must make and upkeep, looking presentable, pleasing other people and being on your best behavior in any situation is exhausting. I learned my lesson at PowerPact, LLC during my first internship. Not only was I not used to working ten hour days (most days around lunch time I could have seriously taken a nap on my desk), but the high pressure atmosphere, demanded perfection and the fact that my supervisor was in Ohio and didn’t have much time to direct me was just plain difficult. I learned hard work translates to good outcomes. The internship taught me an extreme amount of self-reliance and gave me the self-confidence to do so. The days that were slow, when some pressure was released, were not as rewarding.

Radical Truth 12: Luck is for wimps

I could not agree more with this radical truth, mostly because I just simply don’t believe in luck. Everything that is labeled as luck has a reasonable explanation behind it. Vegas. The Lottery. They are all statistical chances. I consider luck as what you make of a situation, not what the situation makes of you. People often brand potential opportunities that present themselves as luck, but we have to recognize the potential and act on the opportunity. I think luck is a crutch that people use to explain situations they cannot explain themselves. Friends say I’m lucky to live the very comfortable life that I have. My parents support me financially, I’m about to graduate, and I don’t have a true need in the world. I look at it as my parents were smart with their money, and it was important to them that I had the opportunity to go to college without having to worry about money or graduate in huge debt. I realized that I had this opportunity and acted on it. I’m not lucky; I just have extremely amazing parents who want me to be the best person I can be. Not everyone can say they have it easy, but I also didn’t take advantage of the situation. I’ve worked throughout college to give me a head start when I’m on my own, while maintaining good grades. That wasn’t luck, it was me fulfilling my potential and acting on opportunities.

Radical Truth 15: Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room

This is my favorite Radical Truth from the book. I compare this truth to being a fly on the wall, and who hasn’t imagined or wished to be a fly on the wall in certain situations? It’s not that I’m not smart, I am. I am an avid reader. I am educated. Simply, I was blessed with brains. More importantly I was blessed with street smarts and common sense. This still does not make me the smartest person in any room; it means that I have the potential to be. I think this truth can be taken in many different ways. One is that you should choose a work environment that has the potential to allow you to grow, learn and expand your experience through your co-workers. The other is that you can sit back in any situation, be it work or social, and learn from other people. You might not always learn something new, but a different perspective or thought process to get to the same idea can be an excellent learning experience. I try to do this where my active participation in a conversation is not necessary. You would be surprised what you learn from listening to people converse. I always remember: Surround yourself with greatness and you too will become great!

Radical Truth 18: Invent option C

This truth is one that I must learn to remember. I tend to look at things as pure black and white. I often forget that there are different shades of gray in the middle. In the past, I’ve found that the gray is often the best option with the most creative outcomes.

Radical Truth 21: Honor the karmic circle

What comes around goes around. It’s true. I believe in it wholly. You do not mess around with karma. I may not believe in luck, but karma will always come back to get you. This is why I always try to do the right thing. I strive to do one good deed a day, even if it’s small (like holding the door for someone). Good deeds create good vibes! This is especially true in the workplace.

Radical Truth 23: You “job” is not your “career”

My job right now might be a marketing intern, but my career right now is a higher-learning devotee in promotions. My current job is working towards building my career. Hogshead is correct; a job is a means to and end, while a career is your unique impact on the professional world.

Radical Truth 30: Live in Verbs

My Favorite Action Verbs: (The ones I’ve used today are highlighted)

Solved. Achieved. Executed.

Improved. Led. Motivated.

Organized. Scheduled. Strengthened.

Produced. United. Developed.

Researched. Arbitrated. Defined.

Addressed. Edited. Negotiated.

Promoted. Inspired. Attained.

Spoke. Wrote. Prioritized.

Clarified. Analyzed. Evaluated.

Studied. Communicated. Facilitated.

Informed. Presented.

Radical Truth 33: Work ethic trumps talent

Work ethic is necessary in business. Talent is nice, but unnecessary. I always joke that advertising is the “rockstar” of the business world, and that is one reason I choose it as my major. I’ve found out I might not have much talent, but I do have work ethic. Yes, the business can be glamorous, but at the end it’s all work. Having a work ethic is the key to becoming successful. Without work ethic you have nothing. Some are given talent; I was taught principles.

Radical Truth 34: Applause is approximately .003% of success

Many people think that success is material, monetary, or status related. Each person asked to define it can define success differently. In my version, I have been successful in the obstacles that I have taken on, but others might not think so. The song, “Three Wooden Crosses”, by Randy Travis has a great line that puts a meaning to success for me…

I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you,

It’s what you leave behind you when you go.

Radical Truth 40: Go for nervous

I am probably the most nerve-wracked person right now. I am twenty-two, about to be a college graduate and about to get cut-off financially (all scary situations), now add a horrible economy with failing businesses. Needless to say, I’m nervous. I have endless questions about the future, but with those questions also come endless possibilities. I have my goals to guide me; the rest is just a leap of faith.

Radical Truth 52: It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice

Kill ‘em with kindness. This truth is important to me. I think being nice is the key to good business, and niceness leads to other great traits in people, such as fairness and an even temper. This truth goes hand in had with truth 21: Karma. Wilson Mizner says it best, “Be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”

Radical Truth 67: Mistakes are tuition

I will be the first to tell someone that I make mistakes everyday. No one is perfect, and I though I try and put my best foot forward I still slip up, but I learn from those mistakes. I bet there are still mistakes in this post even after I spend an hour proofing it (I apologize). Everyone is human.

Radical Truth 68: The most powerful catalyst for success is failure

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Failure is the ultimate kick in the butt. I found this out when I didn’t graduate as planned last semester. I felt totally worthless, even ashamed. Friends who did graduate were moving on to exciting new jobs, different cities, making money. I stayed exactly where I was. I now have myself back in gear and I WILL graduate and move on with everyone else.

Radical Truth 73: Lose early

There is nothing worse then watching someone try to hold on to something when it is already escaped his or her grasp. Again, I did it last semester. Backing away from something for a while does not mean you can never explore it again. I’m now back at school, and making progress.

Radical truth 81: Buck routine

This is one truth that I have mixed feelings about. I am a person that needs some resemblance of a routine everyday. This doesn’t mean I meticulously plan and time my every waking moment. Each day of the week has a different routine, but I get distracted and unbalanced if I don’t have an outline for the day. My need for a loose routine also does not mean that a curveball can’t be thrown and I won’t hit it. I can be spontaneous, I do not follow the same paths everyday, but I do plan my path before I take it.

Radical Truth 94: You are a work in progress

I’ll leave this one to Churchill…

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

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