I was a young associate in a management consulting firm, and for some reason my wife couldn’t make it to the holiday party. I decided to bring my then 5-year-old daughter.
Early on during the party, a very senior and often manipulative consultant, trying to be a nice guy, squatted down so that he was at eye-level with my daughter and said to her, in a very saccharine way, “Your daddy is a super consultant!”
Now, while I was as insecure as the next young consultant and happy for the compliment, I also noticed my daughter smiling ear to ear, which wasn’t unusual for her but still seemed kind of strange… especially since she didn’t really understand my job. (In fact, at the time, she used to think I was a sultan, a misimpression I tried not to correct for many years.)
“Why were you smiling when Roger spoke to you?” I asked her on the way home from the party.
“Daddy, you really don’t like Roger,” she responded in her sweet, 5-year-old voice.
I immediately learned a few lessons from the mouth of a babe:
“¢ Sometimes you have to smile at higher ups if you want to keep your job.
“¢ Smiling isn’t enough – you also have to be good at what you do.
“¢ People see through phoniness; if you smile all the time at everyone, you won’t be taken seriously.
“¢ It can pay to mix family life and work life (but I struggle to achieve the right balance to this day, nearly 25 years later).
“¢ Almost every situation in life is an opportunity for learning.
I’m very excited to be writing a blog for The Jewish Standard and to share some of my own learning. I’ve been fortunate to have held some interesting jobs – a psychologist in an inner-city hospital, a management consultant for a global firm, a chief operating officer within a well-known, multi-billion-dollar company, and now having founded my own career coaching firm – Of Both Worlds Inc.
And through it all, I’ve picked up some knowledge about work and about people – how to find jobs, how to get promoted, how to deal with success, and, of course, how to deal with the inevitable frustrations and disappointments that work can bring as well.
My promise to you: I’ll try very hard in this blog to provide practical advice to help you find and succeed at work. And, while I won’t have all the answers, I’ll write from my head and from my heart so that you find the blog interesting and, I hope, meaningful. I also hope that you’ll find time and purpose in commenting on some of the things you read here, and even ask questions if you want my opinion and those of other readers.
The world of work can be fun, it can be rewarding, and it can also be very hard at times. Together, we can, as they say, “make a difference.” Here’s hoping that you’ll find that this blog helps make a difference in your career and in your life. I’m really looking forward to trying.