Professional Development, Perspective & Other Tough Topics

My father spent the majority of his professional career in the state, so I know he is happy I pursued the same.  This was not an immediate choice though, but rather came together over years of other great jobs (and not so great jobs.)

While working during college, my retail job went from a lot of fun, to a miserable existence under new management.  Spending 3 years working there, I have seen managers succeed and fail because of their relationships with their team.  10 out of 10 times, engaged, motivated employees work harder than undervalued, miserable ones.

Instead of being a fun techie retail store, it became all that is why I cannot continue to do retail; canned speeches, ridiculous sales demands, and more about tracking how many customers I pitched a product to than social/natural human interaction.  Even though it was an entry level position, and I had no desire to take on more responsibility while trying to maintain my GPA, my dad shared some advice with me.  “If nothing else, a bad manager teaches us how not to act- should you get a management role one day.”  At the beginning of the economy’s downturn, quitting wasn’t an option- although all other staff shared this ongoing need to get out whenever the opportunity struck.

My opportunity came when I got fired on my 21st birthday, the day before I left for a college study abroad trip to Spain.  I won’t get into the mundane details of why I thought this was unfair, because from a business standpoint, I understand why it was done.

Perspective is a funny thing.  If possible, I completely recommend dealing with job loss while in Salamanca, Spain.  (There is nothing like self-reflection while drinking sangria in the Plaza Mayor.)  I knew I got fired for not following the golden rule of the career advice: To succeed at work- show up on time and solve more problems than you create.  This sounds easy, right?  Well, being a disengaged employee in retail, showing up at all was difficult.  Constantly thinking every disagreement was a battle made me create more problems for my manager than it ever did make his life easier.  Comparatively speaking, quitting is the easiest thing you can do.

Yes, there will always be bad managers, and yes those on-call shifts are a nightmare, but turning each difficulty into a learning opportunity as opposed to quitting will help your own professional development.  There are ways I interacted with a manager two years ago that I would never dream of doing now, but everyone makes mistakes.  It’s how you make up for those mistakes and correct your actions to better yourself (and your work environment) that count.


About ericatew

Erica Tew is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and career advisor who creates workshops and programs for CT Job Seekers. She is a manager of CT Jobs Chat, a LinkedIn networking group for job seekers, recruiters, and career counselors. Follow her on twitter @ericatew .

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