career coaching

The Power of Mentoring (And Why You Didn’t Get It)

Gov. Martin Henry Glynn with his secretary, Frank Tierney ca. 1913, By Bain News Service via Library of Congress

[updated 2013 August 29]

Did you ever think that the reason why you didn’t get a mentor was that it was almost impossible to mentor you? A good mentoring relationship requires you to share a growth trajectory in how you handle complexity.

Most people’s capacity for handling complex work issues increases over time along predictable paths once in their 20s.

It sounds pretty…

Role-Playing Games as a Metaphor for Your Work History

Gray cyborgs at DragonCon in Atlanta. (c) E. Forrest Christian

I spent months of my life working on this, bringing to full realization the many and varied lands, peoples and beasts of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth!

And I did not — not — do this so that five minutes into the game some players could, and I quote, “Open an evil can of hobbit butt-whup on those Rivendell pretty boys.”

John Kovalic, Dork Tower

Did you ever think that your…

Get or Keep that Job You’re Over-Qualified For

Lighthouse at night, (c) 2009 Martin Belam. Via flickr. (CC BY SA 2.0)

Let’s take another gander at how a hidden high potential can either get or stay in a that low-level job. It’s counter to prevailing advice you get, so you may want to pay attention.

Before I start, I have to emphasize that I’m only talking about Hidden High Potentials (HHPs) and not Normal People. Normals give HHPs advice which is lousy because it’s the advice that works for them (other…

That Boring Job Really Could Be the Death of You

Bored souvenir seller in Moscow. Photo by Adam Jones

Research published last month in the International Journal of Epidemiology shows a link between being bored at work and dying early. Back in the late 1980s, 7,500 civil servants in London — aged 35 to 55 — were polled about their jobs. Thirty years later, Annie Britton and Martin Shipley of University College London went looking to see what happened to these people. The results ar…

Warn of Problems, Then Become the Scapegoat

Domestic goat smile, Crimea, 2009. By George Chernilevsky. Public Domain

Hidden high potentials (2HiPo’s) have a significantly higher risk of being scapegoated by teams than do normal people. People with too much going on are irritating and usually seen as a threat, which is why 2HiPo’s also adopt some strange behaviors that serve to obfuscate their high level of capability.

There’s not much that I can see you can do when the group turns on you. I’ve been on t…

NY Times on Unscrupulous Job Search Firms

(c) 2010 Ardfern (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Article in NY Times about how job search firms can rip you off.

An Ancient Story About the Value of Hidden High Potentials

This is a followup to my earlier post (“Transitions Are Like Being Lost In The Pacific“) on high potentials and the number of transitions they go through in life, and how that increases their risk for massive failures. Here’s a story about a high potential who screwed up and failed completely.

Ah, yes. We come to your typical remark from a pragmatist CEO of a mid-sized firm. Although this cigar-chomping associate is a caricature in walking flesh, the opinion is shared by others. Lots of others. I can go into the psycho-sociological explanation for these opinions but instead, let me tell you a story from another land (I live in the U.S.) that I first heard years ago. It shows why I believe in hidden high potentials (HHPs), and although the story is somewhat dated, it shows what happens to HHPs even today.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were two types of people living in the same country. One dominated the economic, social and political life. It’s fair to say that they ran everything. The other type of people were a different ethnicity. Like many minorities before and since, during hard times they found themselves getting the shaft from the ruling ethnic group. But they persevered. Let’s call the ruling ethnic group “Greens” and the oppressed minority, “Blues”.

Now the Greens ran a country that was the envy of the entire world. All the nations acknowledged their power. Indeed, the land of the Greens was mighty and all their neighbors feared their great might and learning. This great wealth and learning did not trickle down to the Blues, however,

One of these Blues, a young man we can call “Fred” — old names from far away are hard to pronounce, don’t you think? — who by a stroke of good fortune found himself adopted by a rich and powerful Green family. His face and color was not quite as blue as other Blues, and he could successfully pass as a bluish Green.

Work for a Natural Manager If You Want To Succeed in a Company

Château-d'Oex from my window on a snowy morning. (c) E. Forrest Christian. All rights reserved.

To succeed, you not only need to do what is natural for you, you also must work inside of naturally fitting relationships. The relationships that you have with others have to be natural. Remember: what is natural will flow, feel right.

Reduce Career Risk By Moving Closer To Danger

Smedberg: Illustration from

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…

Secret Rules of Career Success seminar series

Secret Rules for Career Success logo

For the past few weeks I’ve been telling you that I am developing a new program to help Hidden High Potentials discover who they are and find fulfilling work and lives. I’m proud to announce the first part of that program, The Secret Rules for Career Success. Because you are reading Requisite Writings right now, I want to give you the first opportunity to sign up when we finalize the dates…

Copyright ©2002-2014 E. Forrest Christian. All Rights Reserved.