Smedberg: Illustration from "Boy who was never afraid"

Reduce Career Risk By Moving Closer To Danger

E. Forrest Christian Careers, Coaching, Overachievers, Underachievers Leave a Comment

There’s a reason why I talk about so many different ways of looking at your career, things like Levels of Work, the 7 Languages of Achievement, domains of work, and even personality differences. It’s all about helping you stop making career decisions that have almost no chance of working. For you.

Because, you see, what’s risky for most people is actually a low-risk decision for high-potentials.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

“Pete”, one of people I advised through a couple of transitions, has an incredible offer right now. It’s more money, with a massive corporation based just an hour or so away. The benefits are better and he would be working with others in his profession. Best of all, it includes several friends with whom he studied for licensure.

It would seem that it would be a “no-brainer” decision, one that can be made simply, barring any other elements.

But is it?

Pete is unfortunately a high-potential. If he goes there, it is pretty likely that he will be bored. Fairly quickly.

Part of it has to do with the level of work of this job. His current job has its boring moments but he also has to bring into play disciplines other than his profession. It requires thinking in several different ways.

The offered job is straightforward, corporate professional. It has a set career path which includes waiting for your boss to either die or get promoted.

His wife wants the security of the corporate job and its benefits. And this is the real point.

I don’t think that, for Pete, that this is a secure job. He would be too big for the role. And while you may think that having more than the job requires is a good thing, it isn’t. Sure, you can be impressive for awhile as you learn things. But then things go sour very quickly.

You have to know who you are, because that information will show you what is not likely to succeed. Pete’s current job is insanely risky for most people. I’d advise almost everyone in his profession against taking it. But it fits him. My belief is that he would be better served trying to get the current career path working better, including a pay raise and more opportunities for profit sharing.

I learned this after spending the last twenty years trying to do things according to “the book”, the advise that everyone knows is true. It never worked out. And because of a relentless need to understand things, I have spent several years understanding what happened.

It turns out that what my in-laws think is insanely risky and frankly plain stupid, is in fact a low risk for me.

“The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm,” as the hobbit said.

Yes, the rules do indeed work for most people. Which is why they are in all the career books.

But you aren’t like most people. If you were, there’s little chance that you would be reading this. For you, there are Secret Rules for Career Success — secret only because they don’t apply to most people.

You don’t fit the normal mold for some reasons I’ve been trying to explain. It doesn’t make you better but it does mean that you need to follow the path that is right for you. Including taking only what fits you from what I tell you.

You see, in the end it’s not about what I think or what the research says. It’s about what resonates with you in your reflection on your life.

Because you are the killer app.

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

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