When I was a young boy, my father would take me to Orchard Beach in The Bronx where I would play on the beach and in the water.
Like most fathers, he was concerned about my well-being and would look in the sky for storm clouds and then turn on our portable radio to get a weather report.
If the weather report said that it would be a quick passing rain shower, we would plan on riding things through under a tree. The report indicated thunderstorms, even though the storm might pass quicker than the rain shower, we would leave the beach and start our long trip back. To my father, there was no place to seek shelter that was safe during a thunderstorm.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
If you can’t answer the question, “What are the trends in my industry,” you are in danger. You are in danger because your ignorance and obliviousness will eventually be punished.
If you have no idea how sales are at your company, what is going on in your field, or how the economy is doing, you might find yourself in trouble because you won’t have any idea that the boat is taking on water and might be ready to sink.
There are economic changes that few people can anticipate but there are plenty that can be spotted.
For example, very few people were privy to the calamity that became Enron or the sub-prime industry collapse. Sometimes, people are working with retailers who pretend not to notice that sales are collapsing and that no one is buying things when they walk in their store. They seem oblivious to the fact that people are walking out empty-handed.
Some people seem genuinely surprised to discover that no one is buying the cars their company makes and that the only way they do is with interest rates that are extremely low or with “cash back” at the time of sale.
I remember a time where I was a new graduate working for The City of New York. I wanted to change the world through serving in government but wound up in a mind-deadening job. The people I worked with were more concerned with how long it would be until their next coffee break than in doing their job. As children, they kept trying to cheat the system by arriving 8 minutes late and trying to leave 20 minutes early and not be caught.
The effort was rewarded with ostracism by the staff and attention by the commissioners. I didn’t care about their bad manners. I did grow to care that the commissioners would leave every few years and be replaced by a different group of politicians who wouldn’t know and might not care because she might have a friend who worked with the agency who would whisper criticism of me in her ears and result in my being fired for because I wasn’t friendly with the lazy incumbents.
It didn’t seem like a good idea to stay so I left the government and went to work for an employment agency; their effort was the gateway to success and fit my personality and attitudes far better. As was my intention when I went to work in government, I was in a role where I could help people—help people find the kind of work they wanted instead of dying on the vine like an aging tomato on a tomato plant in summer.
I was fortunate and saw the storm clouds gathering on the horizon and realized that, eventually, thunder and lightning would come down and erase me from the landscape. Too often, people keep their heads down, doing their job, getting along with their co-workers, and don’t take the time to understand what is going on around them that could affect their job, their career, and their long-term professional success.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2006, 2010, 2016, 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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