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Break the status quo

Divina Paredes | March 19, 2012
When your next project is moving to a new role, consider breaking from the traditional way of presenting yourself to your prospective employer.

He is likewise emphatic on making the effort to get published -- by writing a book or chapters of it, a column for a business magazine or contributing to an academic journal. "First of all, it forces you to crystallise your ideas," says Moskowitz, who has written written and edited 26 books and over 400 articles and conference proceedings. "Two, it brings you face to face that you are not as good as you think you are. It is a humbling experience. You put your ideas in front of everybody else."

And, if you are unhappy in your current role, you can generally move. "If worst comes to worst, and it does, think about going out as a consultant. You can then get fired by each client, and still survive," he says. "Change, don't die."

Sidebar: 'Becoming a fossil in a sedimentary layer'

Dr Howard Moskowitz shares some of the pointers in nurturing a professional career in one of his books, You! What you MUST know to start your career as a professional. The New York-based Moskowitz, 67, describes the book as "intensely personal" and "a testament on how to live".

But, as he wrote, there are not many guide books "to this wonderful land of professionalism which deal with the specifics, the daily arm wrestles, and pleasures and some of the pain."

Here are some of his life lessons, or as he calls them, "reflections on becoming a fossil in a sedimentary layer":

• The odds are that you're going to live a long time. Don't mess up the feeding trough that will be the source of your professional growth and, more than likely, your livelihood. Be sensitive about what you do. Things do come back to bite. You don't want that to happen. Period.

• Kindness, kindness, kindness. I once read a blog which stated that: 'When I was young I admired cleverness; now that I'm old, I admire kindness.' You can't be too kind. It will pay dividends.

• What you do as a young professional is excusable. You may think that an error you make when you are young will follow you around. Chances are that no one notices it, or if someone notices it when you are young, it will be forgotten.

• It's better to be 80 percent right and on time, than 100 percent right and late. When you miss the train, miss the boat, miss the chance, it's gone. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

• Educate yourself so that you understand more than a simple, narrow field. It helps to read history, literature and philosophy. It's even interesting. There was a world before you were born, there were ideas before you were weaned. The truth is, these will be there long after you're gone. So imbibe some culture... You'll be a better scientist and professional.


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