Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life Value vs. Career Value

The world of work is an interesting place. We focus on "our careers" and "our skill set" and "our development" and "our potential." In the next breath we complain that team-players are nowhere to be found in the chaotic "war for talent!"

What? It's all about the individual, right? It's all about me, baby! #ImTheMan

How Did We Get Here?
It seems we've created one of the greatest corporate cultures of schizophrenia without ever acknowledging it. Be an individual, work hard and good things will happen to you, set up your personal goals, and mission statement, and career plan, and on and on...

How can we expect anyone to be focused on team success, let alone the department or company if we've spent the formative years of just about every one's career telling them to focus exclusively on themselves?

Well I'm glad you asked. 

The sad reality is we can't expect them to be focused on the team. How about that? We've done too well brainwashing them that the world is a collection of individuals with no real connection to anyone else. Sure networking gets a lot of press, but doesn't it seem like most of the networking posts you see have an agenda (read here --> networking is only useful to help me get ahead of you!) 

Where Do We Go From Here?

Am I suggesting that we stop working hard on our careers? Perhaps throw away our aspirations, dreams, and vision for what we might become someday? Sacrifice everything for the "good of the order?"

Um, no.

What I am suggesting is that somewhere between our self-obsessed career path and the realization that if we don't work together we won't have a career path, we need to find balance.

Not the beaten to death work/life balance messaging that seems more philosophical than realistic. I'm talking about networking balance. I'm talking about reaching out to those who could be important to you, but asking them for nothing.

Maybe never asking them for anything... Ever.

I know, I know...I'm out of touch. Actually I don't think I am. Several members of my inner circle have stayed connected to me for several years now.

They connect on a variety of channels including using the phone to actually talk, as well as in person when we can see each other. While I could be helpful to them, they've asked me for exactly nothing. 

They asked for nothing. Let that sink in. 


Those kind of connections move far beyond "my network," and become true friends. 

How About You

When was the last time you focused on expanding your network for the sole purpose of connecting with good people who could bring tremendous life-value to you, but little or no career-value? Has that thought crossed your mind? The funny thing is...once you see the value they bring, it sends a bolt of energy into your career without you even realizing it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



  1. It's important to know what personal values we want to achieve in life, on and off the job. Then we can make career choices that help us meet the most possible of these values. Making an initial list of our values is usually the easy part. Most of us can come up with a long list.

  2. These are great tips Jay . I really try to look at our spending as a business. Some days it is so hard to manage all of the expenses.

  3. This two values important role in the society....nice one..

  4. Values are things we feel very strongly about. For example, most of us will say that having enough money to live comfortably is important to us, but many are willing to work for less because what they value most is not money, it's something else such as working for a specific cause, helping people or having free time. Being aware of what we value in our lives is important because a career choice that is in-line with our core beliefs and values is more likely to be a lasting and positive choice.

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