Law Enforcement Jobs:
Opportunity Decisions, part 3:
What's Useful to Know
Founder, Action Resumes—Pentagon
Here are some fundamental facts I’ve observed that can help you in creating a
career and an authentic, personal solution path for yourself. I don’t have a
formula, and I don’t know anyone else who has one, either. Reality doesn’t come
with an instruction manual, or with guarantees. We have to figure it out for
That’s why it “takes a village” to raise a child. No one has all the answers,
not even for themselves, in most cases. We all need a little help from our
friends. But before you launch yourself into making Opportunity Decisions to
drive your professional life forward, it’s good to look back at some fundamental
facts and work them into your thinking. We’re all at liberty to organize our
thinking and the facts we use to support our thinking and decision-making, and
do this in any way we decide is right for us.
Here are some facts that I’ve noticed about people and their careers.
Most people are bigger than their jobs.
They are bigger than their
jobs ask them to be, and very often they’re bigger than their jobs allow them to
The sad fact is: many people actually shrink themselves in order to present
themselves to their bosses as “good employees.” They quickly learn: If they
suggest ideas for new ways to do things, their bosses ignore them, afraid that
if staff members look too good one of them will get the promotion the boss wants
So workers “dumb themselves down.” They have more to offer, but no one seems to
want it. But I think this is horrible. Why shrink yourself for a job? Why not
grow your own value, invest in your own value—and look for someone who sees it?
Whoever that is, that’s the kind of boss you want.
Your credentials matter less than your effectiveness.
Ask yourself: Would you rather hire: a 21 year-old with a degree in computer
software, who’s entering the job market for the first time—or a self-taught
21-year old software geek who’s been producing results for that same 4-year
Most employers these days care much less about your classroom grades than your
hands-on skills. Most workplaces are not about taking tests and repeating
information. They’re about something quite different. They’re about professional
savvy, emotional intelligence, knowing how to be effective working in teams—and
then, occasionally, going “beyond the beyond” to show everyone that you’ve got
what it takes to get the job done.
eople are more alert and creative when doing work they want to do.
“Follow your bliss,” mythologist Joseph Campbell advised. He knew that it’s more
constructive to follow one’s inner calling than to obey one’s self-doubts—or be
blocked and bounded by someone else’s doubts, whims or orders.
Multiple income streams are better than one.
A friend of mine owned a small, very successful ad agency. A few years ago, his
firm landed a major client: The Marriott Corporation.
Sounds terrific, right?
Well, it nearly ended my friend’s career.
The folks at Marriott soon had commandeered all my friend’s time. Things went
excellently well until a new executive at Marriott decided to try out a
different ad agency.
My friend lost his business. He had trusted so much in this excellent
relationship he had built with the people he knew at Marriott that he didn’t
consider that one day someone would come along and upset his apple cart.
Well, people whose jobs are their sole income are in precisely this situation.
If you are depending for your economic survival on one source of income—your
job—you may want to think again. Trusting your job security to an employer is a
Trusting yourself and your skills. That’s better. And knowing how to maneuver
with them through the cross-currents of a volatile economy.
Rather than looking for a job, identify the problems you want to work with
at this point in your career.
Then find people who own those problems and
have the authority to get them solved. They need help, and they know it.
Why go through a job application process managed by HR people who don’t own the
problem? Why not go straight to the people with the problem? Bring them an
informed conversation about the problem, and they’ll create a job for you,
valuing your initiative as well as your knowledge about these problems. No HR
people will be involved, and there’ll be no other applicants for the job,
either. You’ll have that opportunity all to yourself.
Because you created it. You didn’t wait for it to appear on a job board.
Conversations are open-ended. A
pplications, like jobs, are
Which would you rather be in: a pre-defined space, defined by someone else—or a
space you define? Most of us would rather explore new parts of our minds, rather
than get caught in someone else’s “cubicle thinking.” And that’s often what a
pre-defined job is: a cubicle the size of someone else’s thinking.
Ready to think for yourself?
That’s the question Life is always asking us. .
has coached ~5,300 people in advancing their professional lives. He
can be reached at email@example.com.