â€œWhat ifâ€ questions are dangerous. Theyâ€™re like the â€œroad not takenâ€ question. But really, what if you didnâ€™t get that particular job?
I know that if Group Health Cooperative in 1996, right after my MHA program, hadnâ€™t hired me, I wouldnâ€™t have gone into healthcare marketing. This was the job that gave me experience in doing basic marketing functions, like market assessments and market sizing. This was the work experience that my next employer, HBSI, wanted in me for their product marketing manager position.
My HBSI job led me to healthcare technologies, which eventually led me to learn how to be a product manager for web applications and data repositories. Learning to be a product manager rounded out my resume in creating new marketing departments, by teaching me project management skills that I use to create new programs, departments, or products. It also taught me how to write requirements and functional specification documents. I used these skills as a way to document my partner and I’s new business idea, a new website that was never publicly launched. This site did turn into the best sales tool ever by helping us build the business case on why our web properties should be acquired, and eventually was in May 2006.
Today, the first job is the gift that keeps on giving. I still use all the skills and knowledge accumulated from that first marketing job in 1996. I’m always grateful to my MHA teacher that took pity on me, by giving me this first project job. If I hadnâ€™t been hired for a one-year project with Group Health, I wouldnâ€™t be where I am today. Itâ€™s hard to believe that one little job could have such a multiplier effect on my career and life.
What if you did get that particular job in your life? Did you have other job offers? What made you choose it? What would your life look like, if you never had that job? Would you change your path? If so, why? If you wouldn’t change your path, are you grateful or appreciative of how your career has unfolded?
12 Questions for Career Mindfulness Series
The 12 Questions for Career Mindfulness Series reflects on twelve questions to help you reflect about the course of your career. Perhaps once you see your answers, youâ€™ll see patterns or maybe you wonâ€™t. These questions conjure up memories of jobs that may still create some undercurrent of discomfort. I hope some questions validate your strengths or your weaknesses, while some questions provoke a memory that you thought you forgot.
1. How was the first day of your last job? How was the last day of your first job?
2. If you wrote an email to yourself on attitude adjustment, how would it read?
3. What things did you do or love as a child that explains how your work today?
4. Write about a phone call that changed everything in your life.
5. Write about the book that changed everything in your career.
6. If you could ask a former boss a question you wanted to ask, what would that question be?
7. Have you experienced a painful loyalty?
8. What happened on a workday that was different?
9. How did it all go wrong so fast?
10. What if you didnâ€™t get that job?
11. What is the elephant in the room?
12. What if you finally get to do what you always wanted?
Iâ€™ll post one question on career mindfulness per work day for the rest of June 2009. For previous entries in this series, click here.