Life & FamilyMarch 29, 2012

From His Perspective: Breaking the Mold

I am on my way to Charleston, SC today so I thought it was the perfect day to post a new essay from my better half.  It’s been a tough month for us and I think Andrew sums up his view on such a challenge perfectly.  Anyone looking for a job will probably relate….

(a relevant book, and an Andrew favorite)

It has been a little bit since I had the inspiration to write a post. That has mostly to do with the fact that I have been hot on the trail of finding my next career opportunity. It appears (fingers crossed) that this dilemma is coming close to a close soon. It has been an interesting few months looking for a job/career/passion. I have learned a few things that I thought I would share with you all. This is not the typical “here’s what Erin and I are talking about” post. No relationship advice forthcoming. But I hope that the following you will still find interesting and helpful.

Early on in my career I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I liked talking to people, I had a variety of interests and an entrepreneurial streak. I didn’t have the feeling that I wanted to be in real estate, finance, hospitality, tech, web, etc. I liked all of those and a few others as well. I got excited by the opportunity. If I thought something was a good idea, then I could get passionate about it. So I tried a lot of different things.

I think this experience is invaluable. They say variety is the spice of life, but not everyone in corporate America agrees. Experience has its place to be sure, but do you really want a team of people all with the same backgrounds? Doesn’t that make new and innovative thinking harder? Sometimes a lack of experience in an industry allows for a much freer thought process. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by an “experienced” business development person that a particular company would not be interested in our service…they had tried before and it didn’t work. Guess what. Things change. New people take over, strategic objectives change, and companies pivot. Not to mention that if you catch someone on an off day it might not be your product/service it might be the person you are talking to has his/her mind somewhere else. This is truly where ignorance can be bliss. I know. I have been told that so-and-so company would never be interested only to turn around and get an appointment the next day.

More and more companies are valuing diversity because getting different perspectives is actually beneficial, but for some reason most are limiting that to race, sex, religion, etc. My advice? Hire good people. They are much harder to find than experienced ones. You can teach the industry not integrity and talent. And with the pace of the world today is experience from 3 years ago really that relevant any more? Depending on your industry…probably not.

From all that I have read, people are starting to think this way. So my advice in this post is to keep your eyes open. A career should be not only about climbing up the corporate ladder, but about self-exploration. If you are debating two opportunities perhaps the one least familiar and less relevant will propel you further in the end. Allow yourself to learn from your experience, but don’t let it put borders on your thought process. Wherever I land I am going to be doing something a little different from what I have been doing. The companies I am talking to see that as an advantage for them. They encourage new thinking, mold breaking, and personal development. They will get more from me because of that and I will get more from them. Seems like a perfect scenario to me.

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