The Career Question No One Asks – and 5 Questions All Leaders Should Answer

by Jan 5, 2011Career Transitions, Insights, Leadership, Professional Development, Self awareness

A couple of times a year I do a keynote address to high school students for something Junior Achievement calls a reverse job shadow.  This is a day where people come to the school to talk about their careers.  One question I always ask the students is:

  • Did any of the presenters share a mistake they made during their career journey? 

The answer is always no – which is a shame.  We get the students into a room to help them consider career choices, and we don’t take the time to tell them mistakes are part of the journey.  Like any journey, career journeys are not defined by the mistakes, but by our response to those mistakes.   They should know that, and we all need to remember that.

Next time you have a chance to tell your story, make sure you include the answers to these questions:

  • What careers/degrees/jobs did you have before you found this one?
  • What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you started?
  • What is the biggest mistake you ever made and what did it teach you?
  • What part of your job is more fun than hard?
  • What part of your job is more hard than fun?

If you are a leader, what would be the impact of sharing this information with your people? 

Remember . . . Vulnerable <> Weak.

Recent & Related

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

When I did my own VTO 6 years ago I defined 4 core values: Serve First, Kindness Matters, Get it done, and Learning+Doing=Growth. This program emerged when I created a 10-year target to give away 20% of my revenue as a way of living my Serve First value. Through Serve...

read more

Why Every Member of Your Team Should Lead

If I asked you to draw me a picture of a leader, you might pull together a confident and commanding CEO running a meeting, a press conference, or a standup with a group of people. Leaders tend to stand out for how they carry themselves, what they wear, and certainly...

read more