Isn’t your career worth more than a venti double Americano?

Posted November 24, 2009 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

Gather ’round smart leaders and let me tell you a story.  A story that’s being repeated in workplaces across Canada as I type…

Once upon a time, there was a smart, uber talented MBA graduate who had invested $60k of his hard earned cash to earn the credential that was his ticket to the management echelons.  Years passed and the young, hardworking, MBA-holding leader was finally given the big opportunity he’d dreamed of… a big step up into a high profile, challenging role.  His new boss gave him an encouraging smile, mentioned something about an “open door policy” and left him to get on with the task at hand.  The classic “sink or swim” approach to stepping into a bigger role.

But our hero is no management “sinker”.  He knew he needed help.  So, he did what every smart employee does: he sourced some management courses and even went to HR to get more recommendations on courses he could take and coaches he could hire.  All fired up and clear on the support he needed to avoid a potential career flameout, our guy headed to his bosses’ office to get approval on his development request.

When all of a sudden… disaster struck! The economy tanked… training budgets were cut… and his boss fed him the standard party line that went something like this…”you’re an important member of the team but my hands are tied until Q3 when we can maybe access that cash.”

Unfortunately, the tanking economy didn’t wait for Q3 to turn up the heat on our fearless leader. His team downsized and his deliverables upsized.  The pressure was building… his career was sliding… he wasn’t sleeping… and the only person who was happy was the barista that was serving up our hero’s twice daily dose of venti double Americanos.

Insert dramatic, tension-building musical interlude here…

Will our hero survive this impending career crash?  Will his boss see the light and pull the measly $5k out of the photocopy budget to hire him the coach he so obviously needs???

But more importantly… will our smart, MBA-holding, fast-tracker stop waiting for his organization to help him get the development he needs and look after himself?????

Okay… I’m being a little bit overly dramatic here.  But only a little bit.  Consider this blog a thought provoker.

For all of you out there that are under the continued belief (some, less kind people, would say delusion) that your organization should and WILL pay for all the development you need (and you WILL need it) post-grad school, it’s time for a reality check.  If you are a GenX or GenY leader you should KNOW by now that there are no jobs for life and you should KNOW that you have to build your resume to ensure your future job opportunities (which, frankly, has to include keeping your skills up to parr)… so why are you still waiting for your boss to foot your development bill?  Why are you potentially putting your career at risk by not getting the support you need, when you need it?  On YOUR terms?

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask your boss to cough up some bucks when your skills are obviously going to help the company.  But, what I am saying is that – at the end of the day – you HAVE to look after yourself.  Don’t spend more money buying Venti Americano’s or Bell Expressvu or that snappy new suit each year than you do in investing in your biggest asset… YOU!

The Wealthy Barber  espoused putting 10% of your salary away to “pay yourself first”.  Well, I’d like to suggest you take 5% of your salary and invest in yourself first.  Don’t wait for your boss to do it for you.  Afterall, if you’re not hitting your deliverables, I doubt you’ll get an apology from your organization for not giving you the support you need.  And, if you do hit those deliverables, the raise you’ll be getting and the opportunities that will be in front of you will far outweigh the money that you’ve invested in yourself.

Your career’s worth more than a thousand no-foam-double-hot lattes.  Isn’t it?

Happy leading!

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