One person's opinion shouldn't stagnate your career


January 13, 1991|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

The first time Carol requested a transfer into the sales department, her boss told her all the reasons why she didn't really want to move, after all.

Her income would be uneven, the hours would be long, she'd be on her feet all day, and besides, she'd be lonely, he said--the only woman on the sales force.

The second time she asked for this chance to make more money, her boss told her all the reasons why she wasn't qualified to make the move. She didn't know enough about farm TTC equipment, for example. She hand't had enough contact with the public, either, and she would never be aggressive enough to be a salesperson, anyway.

The last time Carol requested this transfer, her boss told her all the reasons why she was an ungrateful wretch to make such a request in the first place. Men just would not buy farm equipment from a woman--why wouldn;t she understand this?

Besides, she was a darned good secretary--why couldn't she just be happy with the job she had?

And each time, she thanked him for being so honest with her. And at no time did it occur to her that this employer just might not have her best interests at heart.

"The moment of truth came when he asked me to 'keep and eye on' the second new salesman he hired because all the other salesmen were too busy and he was going to be out of town," said Carol, "and you know what? Neither of them knew one thing or had a single credential that I didn't have.

"I started job hunting that week and two months later found a job leasing earth-moving equipment to construction sites for a company twice the size of ours--and for twice the money I'd been earning as a secretary

"My former boss was not only flabbergasted when I gave notice, he even had the nerve to admit that the real reason he hadn't wanted to promote me into sales was that 'a good secretary is a lot harder to find than a good salesman.'

"Two years after I took that job, I was promoted to head of the leasing department. A year later, I took a much better job with still another company, and now I supervise 17 people in our sales department.

"My only regret is that I wasted so much time accepting one person's view of how high I could reach in my career, and forgot that that one person wasn't omnipotent and clearly had his own ax to grind.

"I'll nevaer do that again," she added. "I'll get a second opinion. And a third. I'll never again give one person that kind of power."

Those of us who would never accept just one doctor's opinion or one opinion about fashion, or investments, or even what to plant in our gardens, too often give one person "that kind of power" over our career decisions.

If one person's opinion is keeping you demoralized or paralyzed in your career, it's time to get more opinions--even if the person who's holding you back is knowledgeable and experienced, sympathetic and understanding.

If anyone's opinion is keeping you stuck, it's time to get second, third and fourth opinions--from friends, colleagues, networking acquaintances, business contacts, trusted contacts within your present company and potential employers in other companies, as well.

If anyone's opinion stops you from daring to pursue your dreams, in other words, it's time to counter his or her opinion with the most important opinion of all--your own.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.