The rules of the Career Game have changed
Last year I went to a Career Conference in Las Vegas. Not a bad location for a Career Conference I know, but I learned some valuable lessons from the card tables that I believe you can use in your career. (I’m not a gambler by the way, but when in Rome!)
Insight 1: Learn by observing how to play the game
This was my first visit to Vegas and I had very little knowledge of how to play the tables. Like anyone starting a new role, I felt nervous not having all the insider knowledge nor fully understanding the rules. The first thing I did was observe and I spent most of the first evening standing behind players learning how the game was played by those with more experience than me. I was invited by the dealers to wholesale jerseys join the games but resisted untilI I learned the rules.
Insight 2: Back yourself to succeed
There are many card games to choose from but I eventually decided blackjack was the game that suited me. It was a low risk entry point, and I could count to 21! What I didn’t know was when to stick and hold and when to ask the dealer to hit. Bit by Children bit, I learned more but the first Reduction hands I played left me feeling like a novice and exposed. Similarly when we change work roles we feel we don’t have all the skills and knowledge and this can bring us into a dark place as we begin to doubt cheap mlb jerseys ourselves.
Insight 3: Find a mentor to guide you
From my observation of the tables, I noticed one particular dealer who conversed a lot with the players. He was in fact teaching the new players the rules of the game. His game was more fun and held more hope for me. As the games progressed, I asked more and more questions from my new card dealer mentor Larry. I told him I was a novice and I asked for help. He gave me great advice and looked out for me more than others. By educating players, Larry got more engagement and fuller tables. I was truthful and said “I don’t know how” and he freely offered me hints and tips. You will learn a lot faster by saying “I don’t know the answers, help me”, rather than going along fooling yourself and others, that you know the game.
Insight 4: One mentor is not enough
The rules of the game are that the dealer moves on after about 30 China minutes and a new dealer is introduced. This can mean a culture change at the table – shifting from jovial Larry, to a seriously cheesed off dealer who obviously doesn’t enjoy what he does for a living. This is when you make a decision to leave the table and seek out new pastures where other more helpful dealer mentors may be working. Similarly, it is foolish to depend on one Career Mentor to give you a steer and help you with potential opportunities throughout your career. Mentors can leave or retire. Depending on one influential person is a risky career strategy and may well leave you isolated and feeling very vulnerable.
Insight 5: You don’t win every hand
The dealers also taught me not to get too disappointed when I lost a few hands, as the table wins too! The laws of the game are such, you can’t win them all. There are other players in the game and if you try to be too selfish, this actually means in that other players lose out too. As in your career, you won’t succeed at every interview. There are some roles you go for that in hindsight are not meant for you but are meant for others who are better suited.
Insight 6: Don’t go in over your head
I also learned from those who sat down and punted heavily expecting to win big early. They didn’t last long in the game and burned out fast becoming disappointed that the odds were against them. They started a marathon at sprint pace. I have seen a lot of over achieving career go-getters burn out in their mid-40’s. They set a goal to reach and then, upon reaching it, wonder “is this what I really wanted?” The career game is won by being career resilient; plotting thoughtfully your preferred next steps, not by being in a mad rush to a destination you haven’t fully researched.
Insight 7: Have fun and enjoy it
The beers came for free to the tables and made for a fun atmosphere. It was all part of the casino’s role in tempting us to lose the run of ourselves. For the most part, I had fun. I played the game I liked, didn’t drink all of the free beers offered and kept my head. I spent the few hours engaged in the hands I played. The key is to remain engaged in what you do at work. Once you lose interest or the buzz, it is time to rethink your career. On cheap jerseys average, 80% of people flat line in performance when in a role over 12 months.
Insight 8: Retain your learning
Back in Ireland, reflecting on my Las Vegas experience, I realise that I have forgotten much of the skills and strategies employed in Blackjack. Why? Lack of practice and I haven’t found a way to retain the knowledge and experience I gained through my learning experience. I needed to write down what I had learned so that I could reference it and retain it. I also needed opportunities for ongoing practice (but given that it was Blackjack and involved gambling, perhaps this was for the best!).
What did Las Vegas teach me about being at my career best? Quickly (just like the cards are dealt in Vegas!) it won’t all go to plan and treat it as such. You will make mistakes, and you won’t win them all. Keep your head when all around you are losing theirs. Ask lots of stupid questions. Seek out more than one mentor who knows the game and learn from them.
Lastly, remember to keep a career journal and make notes on what you have learned. Because as we know, jobs may change and as such are temporary in nature, but the skills of managing your career are required on a permanent lifelong basis.
John Fitzgerald is the founder of the Harmonics Group. Harmonics specialise in helping organisations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change.
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