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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Life Lessons for the Workplace

Many years ago I had a supervisor with whom I truly had favor. She was a mentor and a friend. Over time this person constantly made statements affirming my worth and value as an employee. Her promises for future upward mobility influenced decisions to not pursue other job opportunities and turn down offers.

I grew complacent in my workplace. Rather than diligently working to advance my career, I sat back waiting to be advanced. Make no mistake---I worked hard and did my job with excellence. But I didn't seek out "bigger" or "better" opportunities. I gave someone else more responsibility for my success than I gave myself. As time went on and things changed, I realized the drastic mistake I made. As I gained self-confidence, I lost "favor". Rather than the promised advancement, I was boxed-in and limited.

Lesson learned: no one should ever be given more "control" over your career advancement than you give yourself. And no matter how much someone professes to like or respect you, things change. A motto used in the field of community organizing is "no permanent enemies; no permanent friends". This is an important lesson---as people change, so do their allegiance. Someone who may have once been a friend can quickly become foe. It is important to always operate with integrity, but don't be lulled into complacency waiting for someone else to move you forward.