Quit treating your career like a poorly run meeting

Just along for the rideI was just over reading a bit of Scott Berkun’s recommendations for running meetings when I got one of those cold sweats.

No, it wasn’t because I was reliving 99.9% of the meetings I’ve ever attended when I was on the corporate side of the desk. (Now that I’m on the consulting side of the desk, meetings are much more structured and well run. And I’m not just saying that to kiss up. I actually think it’s because the people are cognizant that they’re getting charged for my time.)

No, the cold sweat was coming from one of those not-so-nice epiphanies. One of those realizations that makes you slightly ill.

Most of us–me included–manage our careers like poorly run meetings.

You know the drill for the meeting.

We show up. Probably late. Throw in our two cents. Don’t really listen to anyone else. Doodle in the margins. Have sidebar conversations. And end up leaving late. Only to be late to our next meeting. Where the whole sick cycle starts again. And then we carp about how bad meetings can be.

Now, think about you career in a similar fashion.

We show up. Probably late. Throw in our two cents. Don’t really listen to anyone else. Spend time on our own interests. Talk to some co-workers. End up leaving late. Show up the next morning, late, where the whole sick cycle starts again.

Same exact problem. Participating in a broken cycle. Just along for the ride. Going with the flow. Not rocking the boat.

What’s the secret to solving both of these issues?

Taking control.

Simple as that.

Taking control of the meeting. Not allowing others to derail it or disrespect it. Respecting the others who are participating. Actually listening.

Makes a much better meeting.

Our careers are no different.

We need to take control. Instead of just being along for the ride. Take responsibility for our careers. Because no one else is going to do it. The only constant is you.

I’m going to start trying to do a better job in that regard. I’m hoping you’ll help keep me in line.

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Career, Responsibility, Wrong. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Quit treating your career like a poorly run meeting

  1. Toby Lucich says:

    Interesting (sad?) insight, isn’t it?

    It really underscores the importance of “away days” – not just time off from work to vacation or work in the yard, but also downtime to think about your career, not just the tasks awaiting you at the office.

    I can’t say that I’ve taken any recent retreats with my management team to just talk career strategy. Maybe I’m due.

  2. Scott Berkun says:

    This is a great post – there’s probably a fancy name for it somewhere but it’s all too easy to focus attention on all the small, peripheral things and forget the cores – of meetings, careers, lives, relationships – It’s paradoxically harder to talk to people about the really important things than it is to make chit-chat – why is that? Bizzare but true.

    Anyway, thanks for the link and the post.

  3. Rick Turoczy says:

    I think you nailed it, Scott. There is the prevailing misconception that the basics are all “take care of” so we should focus on minutiae. In reality, it seems that the basics–the core–has been completely lost because we’ve been watching the small stuff.

    We need to be restating the obvious, because these days, it is anything but.

    And, thanks for taking the time to stop and comment.

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