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Career Survival Skills: Convention Be Damned
by Michael Mayher

There are already plenty of obstacles built into the process of seeking a job. The interview process is daunting enough but to get there, you must first find an opportunity, avail yourself and get an invitation. By the way, I really laugh with incredulity when people tell me they know what to do and how to find a job and interview. When, actually, the majority of people haven’t a clue but after 5 minutes with me, they are suddenly freaked out because until then, they didn’t know what they didn’t know – and this includes senior-level professionals who think they know it all. But as I said, you first have to find and then you have to inquire and apply for the opportunity. However, there is more than one way to do this although the gate-keepers would tell you otherwise; my advice if you are serious – ignore them.

We’ve all been conditioned to be the same and behave the same but, I have to tell you, following these faux rules is counter-productive to your efforts. Innovation and to be innovative requires rejection of convention. When you want to help yourself, aside from professional conduct and behavior, there are no rules and you are limited only by the processes imposed by others. It’s the same for anyone involved in business development activities. Rules are for sheep, and when I encounter those who are not decision-makers but, rather process-obsessed administrators who haven’t an ounce of interest in my pursuits – or yours, I swat their processes aside and circumvent them, as you would with any obstacle that lay in your path. This, folks, is what goal-oriented people do and so, too, do the very people who stand in your way, when it suits them - their rules are only, for you.

When you encounter someone who may view your efforts dimly because you don’t conform, be polite, suggest you didn’t know, apologize if you choose to, feign contrition if you must, then choose a slightly different course toward the same goal. It is only after all means and options available to you have been closed will you shift to activities elsewhere. If you so choose, go back after the dust settles and try again. Think like a Sapper (originally a French term that described those who dug beneath fortress walls to affect their collapse in order to penetrate the defenses to gain entry).

You are the captain of your fate and, in reality, limited only by your own imagination. Trust me, there are still many managers who find it refreshing to encounter people who buck convention and if you have the option, these are the people you want to find and work for. And no, it’s not easy but is anything worthy of getting easy to obtain? 


About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)
 
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