Warning: Thinking like an Employee is Hazardous to your Career


Career Change, Career Transition, Career Path, Career Plan

I had a week long business meeting coming up and was dreading it.

That alone is enough to prompt a career change.

Already sounding familiar to you?

I’ve worked hard to create the best of all worlds in my career transition including negotiating an office move out of headquarters to a remote working location where I get to help others in their career change and continue to keep my fingers on the pulse of Corporate.

Also I have the flexibility in my schedule to spend quality time with my family.

The last thing I wanted to do is go sit in the dark for 5 days listening to group overviews from boring speakers (that seem to care less what the audience thinks).

It drives me crazy when corporate does this stuff.

It seemed like an utter waste of time and money.

After all, the economy is in the tank and the last thing they need to be spending money on is a slew of boring presentations and a silly bowling boondoggle.

You mean you are flying everyone from Europe and Asia for bowling?


I was griping about this to a mentor of mine and he interrupted me in mid-complaint…

“The more you think like an employee, the more you’re going to get treated like one.”


You see the last thing the big dogs need is another griping, complaining employee (they’ve got plenty already).

It seems like a subtle mindset change but actually it makes a big difference.

So instead of thinking like an employee, consider starting to think like a business owner.

It takes some practice, but when you do you’ll find your career and even your current job start to shift:

  • Higher levels of energy at work.
  • More creativity in problem solving that usually results of thinking about the “big picture”.
  • Boosted confidence in your decision making.
  • Find yourself saying things with more authority (thus watching people react in a favorable way to get stuff done).
  • Might even find yourself caring about the company’s bottom-line (you might be thinking, “not me, no way”) but try it and see.
  • More fun because work is more fun when it’s less about paper shuffling and more about making an impact.

A Simple Plan…Listen

You can get started by putting together your plan by asking the people you work with and for “what challenges they’re facing?”

Consider what challenges are they sharing and not sharing?

You don’t need to have the answers yet, just make mental notes on what you are hearing.

Listen and probe the pain.

Then listen some more.

When you work in Corporate, it’s your golden opportunity because you are the “insider”.

You’ve developed the guts, trust, and relationship to ask the hard the questions and actually get answers.

They’ll be serving up delicious opportunities on a silver platter for you.

When you’re a 3rd party outsider, it can take years to get to the people and conversations you have access to now.

Savor and relish this incredible opportunity.

You can use what you heard to create a strategy for how you want to best help and then develop a blueprint for a solution.

Your solution can be the doorway to your career change to one you are passionate about (even while staying within the same company).

To get 3 keys for your career change and a 3-step plan to get moving click here to schedule a complementary consultation.

To Your Crossroads!



The Facts about Fear and Your Career Path


Career Change, Career Path, Career Transition, Golden Handcuffs

I had just finished a great meeting and was getting into my car, and I then checked my blackberry.

As I read, my stress level escalated and my heart immediately sank.

I was actually terrified.

I received confirmation that a business associate at my corporate day job had signed up for the Executive X newsletter.

How did they find me? Was my secret agent status blown?

My career path interrupted.

But I was so careful!

By the time I pulled into my driveway with my head spinning, I had created a mental image of me being walked out in front of my peers.

The Benefits of being a Secret Operative – Something worth Protecting

You see, I find there are lots of advantages to being behind corporate lines.

It helps deliver such rich, real world, applicable content and strategies for my secret network of career change operatives (like you).

Your career path benefits from:

  • Applicable Strategies – You get career strategies that come right from the pulse of the corporate world.  The tips here are never lasses faire. I get what’s like and, you don’t have time for wild idea speculation or ideas that don’t work.
  • Freshest Content – You get the freshest content right out of office.  These are all situation happening in Corporate NOW. It’s not some ancient business school case study on what happened when from when printing press was invented. It’s real, fresh, and applicable.
  • Strategies Straight from the Source – Everything is from a corporate executive what can understand what it’s like to walk in your shoes.  This is not a 3rd party consultant website. This is the real deal.

Since I am in corporate every day I stay fluent in corporate language.

A Career Path Threat

I actually care a lot about the Executive Crossroads operative network, and if it’s jeopardized I’ll fight.

I care so much that when that I went I arrived home, I noticed I felt fearful.

I had a few conversations right after I thought my cover was blown, and they went horribly.

The mood of fear was closing in all around me.  I found myself hesitant, unsure, and unable to make a decision.

I even managed to alienate an employee in a conversation where they were clearly feeling afraid and confused themselves.

This mood of fear and the actions I was taking did not help me or the employee one bit.

What Happened?

I’m still not totally sure, but I think that the person that joined the Executive Crossroads Newsletter just shared the same name as one of my business colleague (not related to my day gig).

So it wasn’t a real threat after all.

So clearly, I mentally checked out and left fear in charge.

Amazingly, it was invisible to me that it had even happened.

It’s incredible how in a split second you can attach a story to an email and be overtaken by a mood that’s not serving you like fear aka “fight-or-flight”, envy, resentment, etc…

Fear (not you) takes control of the wheel and steers the car wherever.

When Fear is left “In Charge”

It strikes me how your career can be driven by fear.

So frequently you’ll find when you let fear into the driver’s seat, it drives your actions unconsciously.

Maybe you even go as far to lay down in the backseat, afraid to look where you’re headed.

You can usually tell if your career is being driven by fear if you notice some of the warning signs like:

  • Taking continuous public berating from your boss or board
  • Remaining in a role waiting for a promotion (after continuously being passed over)
  • Rehashing the same old happy hour gripe session about “the company” over-and-over again
  • Starting to lose sleep over losing your job
  • Putting off taking the first steps in pursuing the career you are excited about

So, fear can drive you crazy but what can you do..

First of all, fear is not all bad in your career and does have place in for any career path.

You can read more about the “fearifits” (aka the benefits of fear) by clicking here.

However, it can get really challenging when you can’t seem to shake the fear, and it hangs around (you may not even notice it).

So here are a few tips you can use to relieve the fear in your career:

  • Acknowledge the Fear – In the moment, if you notice that your feeling fearful then that’s often enough to disarm it’s control (note, the fear is still there, you’re just not allowing it to control you on autopilot).
  • Define It – Try playing the game “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”.  Ask the question at least 5 times regarding your fear. You’ll often discover the root of your fear is not as significant as you originally believed.
  • Ground It – Fear is an assessment (opinion).  It’s never a fact.  For example, getting fired may be scary to someone who has never considered looked for a job before, but may be considered an opportunity who is looking forward to a severance package to help them bridge to a new career.  Consider questioning the foundation of your fear.

To get 3 more tips to alleviating fear for your career path, schedule a 20 minute chat with X by clicking here.



Do This and Risk Your Career Change

Career Change


I was talking with a one of my career change operatives yesterday, and he was telling me about an exciting career transition he was intending to make.

He works in a large, multinational company and he intends to start selling some of his services outside of his day job working hours.

There are lots of benefits to starting a second job outside of your day job like:

  • Growth – You learn things about another area of interest.  You can research a career to death but there is no substitute for trying it on yourself.  You get to try first hand what it’s like out there and get to experience the pro’s and con’s.
  • Diversification (Peace of Mind) – You could be canned at any moment in Corporate and it’s comforting to know what you would do if you lost your job tomorrow.  There would be another way to pay the bills and you’d know where to focus your efforts.
  • All Upside, Low Risk – A second job can offer a low risk way to get experience in another work arena.  You still have your day job income, so you can be more free-wheelin’ with trying different moves and mucking it up as necessarily with little at stake.

So I was extremely excited for him, but then he shared that he had made a strategic mistake that brought everything to a screeching halt and now had him stuck on his career path.


Asked for Permission

When he shared this I knew what likely happened (because I had made this mistake too).


His request to offer his services outside of the company was escalated all the way to the corporate president, who responded with “No”.

There was no discussion or explanation. In fact, the “No was passed down the chain of command 4-5 people until it finally reached him.

What Happens in Corp when You Ask Permission

You’ll probably find that when Corporate smells risk they will say “No” 99.9% of the time.

Would you want to be the boss who gave permission to your employee to start a successful on-line business?

Probably not.

But on the other hand would you care if you discovered second-hand that an employee had a side business that did not conflict with his or her day job?

Probably not.

Of course, it’s important to understand you work contract and the company rules, but you’ll find that most companies do not have an issue as long as there is not a conflict of interest and you’re not running your business on company time or resources.

My recommendation is to avoid asking permission to pursue a second career on the side (unless you secretly really want to get shut down, which we can talk about later).

If You Do Need Permission

There may be certain situations where there could be a conflict of interest like you’re offering your second job services to a company that is a customer of your day job.

If you do need to get permission (which I would recommend in this case), ensure that you are one making the request.

If you are depending on the chain of command to relay your request as well as you can then you are probably kidding yourself.

Remember the game where you whisper a secret in one person’s ear, and then it is passed around the room and it comes out at the other end with “ants fly with blueberry macaroni”?

Tips for Asking Permission

When asking permission to pursue your second career while keep your current job:

1.) Advise, Don’t Really Ask – I find it helpful to say something like, “_______ has always been an interest area of mine and I’m going to explore it after hours.”  This way you’re keeping them in the loop, but not actually asking them to do anything (like escalate the request, etc…

It’s very non-nonchalant and non-threatening.

I think most bosses will actually want to support you so they just need a sound bite if someone ask them what you’re up to.

2.) Offer Examples – If you can uncover where other employees have successfully done this internally or can pull examples from other companies, this usually can make your boss more comfortable.

If Permission NOT Granted

So if you have tried these strategies and still run into a career transition road block, don’t give up.

You can try identifying other areas of the company you are interested in that might need some additional help for your services.

Volunteer to help and secretly gather all the notes you can as you build towards your future career change.

You can also try speaking openly with a boss or mentor to discuss possible directions (or if you need to stay confidential…try scheduling a time with me by clicking here).

Your Secret Agent Coach at the Crossroads,



Corporate Stops Coffee Service, Riot Breaks Out, and Careers Tank

Corporate Resentment, Career Change, Career Transition, Coffee Service

Coffee Career Pep

Free coffee in Corporate seems to be a god given right for all employees for as long as I can remember.

It was not always “good” coffee, but it was always free and plentiful.

After all there are lots of work benefits in Corp to coffee (and lots of it)

  • Perk, Push, and Pep – It helps you get through those low dips
    of energy during your day
  • Focus – Coffee has prevented many mistakes and saved companies billions by keeping employees alert and focused
  • Alert – You get going faster in the morning preventing a long ramp-up period to getting stuff done.

So you can imagine my shock when…

Coffee service was cut.

I walked in from a trip and all coffee and supplies were gone.

There was just a sticky note that said, “Corporate X will not be supplying coffee to employees any longer.”

So mysterious and so annoying.

I asked around and they said that a few areas had cut out the free coffee, and Corp did not think it was fair unless everybody lost it.

It almost sounded like Corp was trying to pick a fight.

The entire office was in upheaval and began to riot.

Employees starting hanging empty coffee filters on their cubicles.

One person even recorded a percolating coffee maker sound on his phone, so every time he gets a call it sounds like coffee is brewing (a sad reminder).

Apparently stopping coffee service is a growing trend in Corporate.

Ending coffee service is happening along with cutting other perks like 5, 15, 30 year corporate anniversary gifts, corporate family picnics, etc…

Just the other day on a conference call I heard:

“Congratulations on your 5th year at the company.  It’s a big moment. I am just printing out your pre-signed certificate now.

You know when you’re here 30 years they give you the one signed with a crayon.

When you hit 50 years they give you a grandfather clock, then bury you in the box…and send flowers.”

Of course, this was said in jest but you might be hearing stories like this much more frequently (I am).

What strikes me as interesting is the silence between Corp and the employees.

Both groups just engage in leaving mysterious notes and silent acts of irritation.

I can’t help to think what might be possible if both parties discussed the issue they want to address?

The Good News

When you see cuts starting to happen in the workplace you don’t have to sit in silence.

It can be a great chance to make a career transition.

It doesn’t have to mean you leave Corporate for greener coffee pastures, but you can transition your career from one of passiveness in the office to one of active dialogue and leadership.

This mean you stop resenting Corporate and start considering thinking about speaking into your concerns and asking the right questions.

You can start my asking:

  1. Is Corp really addressing fairness in the workplace, or is it really related to reducing cost?
  2. Are the employees upset about no more free coffee, or is it that they are tired of being kept in the dark?
  3. What things are both Corp and the employees taking for granted in working with each other?
  4. What are the unspoken expectations?
  5. If both sides spoke into their concerns what creative ideas and solutions would be revealed?

To Your Crossroads!

Executive X


How to Deal with a Bad Boss

Bad Boss

Gladys and the Pips on the Bad Boss Train

It can be stressful to deal with a bad boss (or bosses if you report to a board or are work in a matrix organization).

The natural response for many executives is to over-focus and over deliver on fulfilling the bad boss demands especially when they come often and maybe accompanied with something like, “this could cost us our/or your job”.

The boss writes your review after all…

But doing this can be a trap.

I recently read the question, “What would have happened if Gladys Knight had fired one of the Pips?” from a Seth Godin blog post.

Then he said, “I think Gladys would have found another way to get to Georgia.”

Try thinking about this in relation to your bad boss and your career.

The pitfall happens when you spend so much time doing what your boss (the front man) needs that you forget to build relationships with other executives in other departments and diversity.

The front man runs the show if and she decides to fire a sideman then the shows just rolls on.

You see the sideman is totally reliant upon the relationship with the front man because…

Be wary of letting the boss (good or bad) control the entire relationship with the audience.

If your boss decides to fire you, then the best protection you have is the relationship you have forged with HR and other executive leaders.

Or if your boss leaves Corporate then you are left without other resources like “other” executives that can be additional support people in your career.

If you’re not careful everyone else at Corp will start to see you a junior version of your bad boss (aka mini-boss).

This might not be a bad thing if your boss is the next CEO, but usually what happens is prime time execs get scooped up by another company are you left without a “safe haven” and scrambling.

You may even hope that your bad boss will take you a long to their new job, but they frequently have non-compete clauses which extend 2-years and beyond.

So don’t expect to get picked up immediately.

Here are five ways to deal with a bad boss:

  1. Build up credits with other departments – Do favors and help other departments. Favors are the intra-department currency in Corporate and are investments in future relationships.  The more you build up, the more you can get done in a boss transition pinch.
  2. Strategically disagree with your boss (even in public) – Pick a time in a public setting to politely disagree on a topic (maybe even support the opinion of another department). This demonstrates you are free thinking, independent, and not just a “yes” sideman.
  3. Establish mentor relationship – Identify executives that you can look to for feedback outside of your boss. This goes a long way in establishing relationships at higher levels and having someone else that can provide cover if need be.
  4. Continuous networking – Invite others to coffee/lunch to build relationships outside of your normal work day
  5. Start your own business – You become the front man and thus the boss (no bad boss to worry about other than being one yourself; therefore, now forward this article to your employees).

By following these strategies you will be on your way to going from “Pip” to frontman in no time.

To your Crossroads!

Executive X


The Secret Power of Losing Your Job

Career Change Power

Power On for Career Change

Fear of losing your job can be rampant at Corporate and can be very helpful in your career transition.

All it takes is a few work colleagues who are afraid of being fired or laid off, and they can get your department or even entire division held up in fear.

Plus, you can add the tension and anxiety created by the news that frequently highlights a shaky economy and maybe a plummeting retire savings account.

If you’ve been thinking about making a career transition, you may even find that you end up too scared to leave your job and too scared to stay.

Instead of trying to talk yourself out of being scared (which rarely works anyway), you can embrace the fear for your career transition and gain some big time benefits like:

  • Faster results. What a great short term motivator to get your couch.  Fear can be a get you moving quickly and getting stuff done…now!
  • Relief. Most find that when they don’t have to escape or run-away from the fear, it makes things easier and they stop wasting energy struggling against it. Powerful actions.  Why not taking a big step that you’ve been holding back on making?  Fear can motivate you to make bolder moves than you would otherwise.
  • Energetic Outlook. How about an untapped reserve of energy to get your day started?  Fear can drive you to worker hard and longer with more focus.

With all of these “fearifits” (the benefits of fear)…

If you are scared of losing your job then good for you!

You might find that fear over time can even become the mood du jour at Corporate, particularly if there are changes going on and very little communication between the executives and the rest of the organization.

A corporate mood of fear can have career transition on the top of everyone’s mind, updating their LinkedIn profile, and researching ways to escape the golden handcuffs.

In fact you might be relieved to know, it’s perfectly natural to have fear of losing your job in Corp because:

  • Your professional identity is might be tied to your job and losing it doesn’t sound like much fun.  For example, one day you are VP of Finance, and the next day you are VP of peanut butter and jelly for the kids.  If this sounds like an identity crisis, then we might be onto something.
  • Losing your job is tied to that “uncertain” feeling. If you’re really not sure what you would do then you are like most. Most have no idea what the heck they would do every day.
  • You don’t know where the money would come from.  This can be much scarier than Freddy Kruger or a Ponzi Scheme.  Honestly what would you do if you had no income coming in starting today?  What would you do to pay the bills?  Is this sounding scary enough yet?

So let’s talk about embracing the fear!

I don’t mean it’s time to give your life to Corp and become a corporate robot (in fact this might end up in you losing your job anyway).

Also I’m not saying it’s time to eject from the Corporate aircraft yet.

That would be like living in fear, which is probably not going to serve you very well over the long haul.

Here are five tips to embracing the fear and capitalizing on the huge “fearifits” for your career transition:

  1. Awareness – Just by noticing and acknowledging the fear you are at an enormous advantage.  Once you know it’s there you can start to make it productive.
  2. Security Basket – I am not about to lecture you on financial planning but if you are afraid of losing your job then it’s time to bulk up the rainy day fund. Everyone recommends a different amount. I think 9 months expenses is a minimum cushion. If it takes 9 months for a baby, surely delivering a good next job will take that long.
  3. Contract, says? – If you lose your job, what can Corp do?  Go back and read the contract you maybe never read closely (or all).  Do they get to keep your computer with all of your stuff on it?  Are you entitled to severance, bonuses, retirement accounts, etc…?
  4. Prepare for Change Now – If you fear your job loss is inevitable and will be soon, then use the time left to start your job search, conduct informational interviews, and get the lay of job landscape.
  5. Get Moving – Use the fear to get your ass moving (versus sitting at home and complaining).  Talk to companies, a coach, headhunters, and others who can support you in your preparations.

Scared yet? Good.


To your Crossroads!

Executive X


How to Guarantee Your Career is a Success

Career Change Success

Success Guaranteed

The plane landed and I was so pumped up.

We were getting married in my fiancee’s home town, and things couldn’t be better.

As we got into the car a family member asked, “so we do we explain your “situation”?”


“Well we don’t want the family to think you can’t get a job or are some kind of freeloader.”

I was shocked, appalled, and downright angry.

You see I had chosen to leave my comfy corporate career and moved to out West to be with my fiancee.

It had been a couple months and the career transition was proving to be much tougher than I’d thought.

Meanwhile, we were getting married and our families were concerned about how an unemployed groom would look to the hundreds of people showing up for the big day.

I can’t say I blame them.

It was a concern of mine too, and I was not feeling very successful (which I wanted everyone to see I was).

I had the woman of my dreams but what the heck happened to rock my confidence and put myself in the “unsuccessful” category.

Your Definition of Success

When you hear “success” what’s the first thing you think of?

If you live in Corporate you might instantly think of a specific job title, a home on the beach, a massive bank account, ten grandchildren, or even an opportunity to sail around the world.

If you dig a little deeper you’ll probably find that your idea of success is heavily influenced by the media, office peers, family, friends, or at a minimum the culture you live in.

This in turn impacts your career path especially when your considering a career change.

After all, it’s human nature, to soak up the ideas around you (unconsciously) and these heavily influence your views on success.

This can be a helpful thing if you find yourself in a supportive environment, but it can also create friction for you if the community’s ideas on success are different than yours.

I’ve seen this play out in Corporate when a big executive gets a fancy car, then over time you’ll start to see more and more of the same type of car popping up in the parking lot.

You hear the conversations about the car in the hallways and at the water cooler.

Maybe the topic even makes its way into the staff meeting.

No one says “the car” means success, but the undertone is present.

Maybe a quiet whisper…”success here at this company = fancy car”.

The golden handcuffs might even start to look more appealing for awhile.

The friction between what the community’s ideas on success and yours can then start to generate frustration, anger, and an overwhelming desire to take long, long sabbatical.

Your Personal versus Public Definition

I find that there are two different types of success.

Public success is whatever someone else says it is.

This includes community perception, certifications, awards, and anything that requires the word “the” in front (like “the car”, “the house”, “the job”, etc…)

The problem with the public definition of success is that it is constantly changing and very fickle.

Many people never really take the time to get clear on what their own measure of personal success is, and they end up absorbing or taking on whatever the worlds says it is for them.

Occasionally this really works out well and the world nails it, but usually….

The world does not really know what success is for you, so if you follow their advice you’ll be successful publicly but still lost personally.

It is certainly helpful to understand what “they” think, but if you always work to achieve the public definition of success you’ll probably end up exhausted, burned out, and likely never attain it.

Worse, you might end up basing your career transition (or staying in our current role) on the public definition and find yourself in a career you don’t love (been there, done that).

Personal success is very different.

Personal success is privately evaluated by you (and you only).

Plus, you’ll be the only person who will know if you ever attain it.

It’s powerful because once your personal version of success is identified it makes you more confident, bold, and less likely to get down in the dumps because someone doesn’t “get” you.

It is remarkably related to your passion and what get’s you up in the morning.

It also emerges over time, and you get clear on it by exploring new things, taking small steps, and paying close attention to what energizes you.

You’ll discover that when you get clear on what your own private definition of success, you’ll be infinitely more likely to hit it!

…and less likely to be impacted by the community’s version when it doesn’t help (see my own story above).

For me, personal success is how my life positively effects others, and how I design a life I love with my family.

It takes time, dedication, and a little bit of effort each day.

I gradually work on it and the pictures gets gradually clearer as I go along.

I find when I follow my own journey of personal success, I’m always successful.

You’ll probably find the same to be true in your career and life in general.

Back to the Story…

After I returned from my wedding, I spent a lot of time thinking about my own definition of success.

And why had a let the public definition of success overcome my own personal definition?

It was because I hadn’t taken the time to get crystal clear on what success was for me yet.

I began to think of success on my own terms, which is based on a life that was integrated with family, community, fun, and helping others get clear on their own definition of success and pursue it full throttle!

Once I did that, my “situation” didn’t bother me as much, and I was able to tap into a new pool of confidence to propel my own career transition.

So how do you define your own personal success?

What do you do to distinguish it from the success as defined by those around you?


To Your Crossroads!

Executive X


PS: To get clear on your personal definition of success and get a  3-step action plan to get there, schedule a complementary 25 minute session by clicking here.

Burnout then Reignite your Career from the Ashes

burnout symptoms

Reignite Your Career

Have you ever considered what it’s like to burnout in your career?

Maybe you’ve even already been there in yours?

The symptoms of career burnout show up when executives go from optimistic and eager to frustrated and cynical in their careers.

For many this becomes a natural career progression, but sadly you find that many never reignite to get to the final place of passionate, excited, and inspired.

For me (and maybe for you too), it had been coming to a head for awhile because my profile was getting to be just too perfect.

The golden handcuffs were new and shiny, and I was proud to wear them.

I needed a career change and didn’t even know it.

If you haven’t gotten there yet, then watch out for the warning signs.

Here are the symptoms of burnout, and how can tell if you might be on the verge of burning out in your career:

  • You’ve been working in Corporate for several years and go full throttle every day.
  • You wear the company picnic polo shirts to work.
  • You get there early when the office is still quiet and stay late every day (since that’s the only time you can get ‘something done’).
  • You stay out late with the team members on business trips and then cut your sleep short to wake up early the next working to have breakfast with the highest ranking executive.
  • You try (and frequently succeed) in responding to every email and voicemail within a 12-hour window.
  • You have never used the internet for “personal reasons” at work.
  • You manage to do everything your boss and most anyone else asks and then deliver it exactly like they want.
  • You proudly hand out your business cards to everyone you meet (regardless if they care or not).
  • You never talk “seriously” with any recruiters because it just seems like cheating on Corp.

My Story…

I truly believed if I took care of the company then the company would take care of me.

They were obligated too, right?

At first I was rewarded with education assistance for a MBA and then with some interesting international assignments.

Then in a few more years my review time rolled around, and I just knew my career was coming to a crescendo.

All of my peers said I was being groomed for a big position.

But nothing happened.

There were openings, but I needed “more time to develop”.

I didn’t understand.

It was not suppose to be this way.

I had worked so hard and given it my all.

The way it “should” happen is I work hard and sacrifice, then I get a bigger position and more money.

Then eventually if I really work it, I get to be CEO (or at least a SVP), right?


I brought this to my boss’ attention and he laughed.

I felt cheated and most definitely screwed over.

The frustration started to set in.

I carried this frustration into two more gigs at different companies.

I was hop scotching companies, but I was still stuck in middle management with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I became cynical about Corporate.

I became an avid Dilbert follower and constantly made jokes about how ridiculous executive decisions (and pay) are.

Then I ran into the worse boss I ever had.

He was pure bully and got his kicks with publicly embarrassing his team.

Crazy, huh?

My view of Corporate had hit rock bottom and it was dragging me down with it.

I asked, is this really it?  Is this what working is all about?

Career burnout, and I had a long, long way to go to the yacht in Maui.

A New Possibility

One night, while I was complaining to a friend and the conversation when like this…

Friend: “you know, you always have a choice”.

Me:“Yeah right, I need money and a job. I can’t just leave”.

Friend: “Sure you can.

“Corporate is not all bad but when you work there because you ‘have to’ it can really suck.”

Me: “Yes, and I have to.  I’ve got bills to pay and family responsibilities”.

Friend: “Well, what if you made the choice to be in Corporate on your own terms?”

Me: “That would be different.

First that would mean I could always leave.

If they treat me like crap I can voice my opinion or leave.

Secondly if how I want to design my life does not align with the Corporate then it’s up to me to do something about it.

When it’s on my terms, it’s always up to me and within my power.


So simple, and yet so very powerful.

After that conversation, things started to change.

I began seeing new possibilities for my career path.

Then I slowly tweaked my approach to Corporate conversations, and how I structured my work day.

Then I went for bolder changes pursuing bigger endeavors (this website for one) and took a deeper look in how I integrate my work with family.

Finally I began offering what I learned to others (perhaps the biggest reward of all).

Then I found the path to revival with passion and inspiration for my career and for that matter, life.

One conversation can change it all.


To Your Crossroads

Executive X



PS: Get a 25 minute complementary call to discuss your burnout profile and get a 3 step action plan to reignite your career by clicking here.

Relieve Your Work Stress with “Hell Yeah!”

Relieve Work Stress

Ahhh Relief

When do you find yourself stress and overwhelmed at work?

Maybe sometimes pulled in 10 different directions at once?

Maybe you signed up for 2 new projects, 3 department “deep dives”, and to train the 3 newbies starting at Corporate next week.

Of course, this list does not include any corporate “fire drills” related to stock price, earnings, or simply not making the numbers.

Just writing that exhausts my fingers…

Applying a simple rule can help you:

  • Simplify your to-do list
  • Alleviate your Monday morning stress
  • Clarify what your next step is even in the midst of chaos
  • Show you clearly where to delegate
  • Boost your productivity
  • Help you stay cool even when the “stuff” hits the fan

Start with your To-Do List

This is the list that you make where you brain dump everything you “need”, “should”, and “want” to get done.

You may find that your to-do list is stuffed and overfilled with things that you can’t possibly get done in a week’s time (much less a day).

An overstuffed to-do list can add to work stress and burnout.

Prioritizing and whittling down your list with a simple rule can help you refocus and reenergize.

Try this…

Never “Yes”, only “Hell Yeah!” or “No.”

The “hell yeah!” check gives you a real world gut check for what’s on your list and more importantly how things get on it.

Your to-do list represents all those things that you have said, “yes” to.

You may be thinking well if my boss or my spouse put it on my to-do list then I never said ‘yes”.

Well if it’s on your list, then consider that you may have unconsciously said it when it ended up on there.

Now try going through your list and put a check by those that strike some level of excitement for you.  Not just “yes”, but “hell yeah!”

For everything else, consider saying “no”, doing it later (much later), or delegating it.

When you spend your day doing the things that get you excited, you’ll be more productive, attract more of what inspires you, and even have more time to get the smaller stuff that doesn’t motivate you.

It takes time to get your list heavily weighted to “hell yeah!”.

But after you start noticing what activities get you to “hell yeah!” you’ll notice your list shifting and your stress level will start decreasing.

Help in the Heat of the Moment

You may find this rule extremely helpful when you are negotiating your salary, new project, or job responsibilities.

When you are in the heat of the moment in the boardroom or office it can be tempting to aggressively accept whatever ever opportunity comes up.

When you find yourself saying “yes” to a new project and not saying “hell yeah!” then it might be better to say no.

The rule can help you quickly distinguish if the opportunity is the right one for you.

If you just feel like making a simples “yes”, then politely request it go to someone else.

No saying “yes” to the mundane (or at least putting up a bit of a fight), leaves more capacity available for things you’ll want to sign up for later.

Otherwise, you can get frustrated when the project or job you’ve been wanting to work on finally comes along, but you don’t go for it because they are tied up with something else you’re not inspired by.

Protecting your capacity allows you to throw yourself into what your “hell yeas” are.

Relieve your work stress…

So you can relieve work stress by practicing the rule and begin to clear your plate of those things that you are not excited about and most likely they are the small annoying things that stress you out to begin with.

(Obviously there are responsibilities that you would like to say no to but can’t at that time.)

Just becoming aware of what’s on your list can make these candidates for dropping in the future.

When you go through your to-do list what do you notice?

Where do you find the “hell yeahs”?

Check out this video from Derek Sivers and what he as to say on the rule:


To Your Crossroads!

Executive X







5 Ways to Use Happy Hour as a Career Weapon

Career Change

Happy Hour Periodic Chart

Happy Hour can be a great career advancement opportunity for you.

In the past, it may have started out as the time for a drink between the end of the work day and dinner at home, but now…

Happy Hour is a career weapon that you can use to skirt the Corporate formality and work the edges where is no official red tape and no “big brother”.

Why It Works

Happy Hour works because its usually a more relaxed environment for you and your coworkers.

There is no official agenda (possibly lots of unofficial ones), no conference call participants, no note taking (maybe mental notes), and no control of who, how, and what you talk to anyone about.

There is something distinctly different about a Happy Hour than lunch or breakfast.

The official work of the day is done and there is usually an energy of unwinding and tension loosening, which can open new career opportunities from the tightest of “corporateers”.

If you handle Happy Hour strategically, you can come back with:

  • A treasure trove of new career possibilities
  • Discoveries that can set your career into hyperspace.
  • Free strategies for dealing with work place challenges

It’s an open field and it can be what you want to make of it.

When It Doesn’t

Happy Hours can also be a dangerous place full of landmines.

Watch out for bone-headed rookie moves like discussing corporate gossip, flirting, speculating on who is getting canned next, griping about your job, and be all means…DON’T get drunk.

Happy Hour Weaponry

So here are my tips on making your Happy Hour the most productive ever:

1.) Know your beverage

By knowing your beverage you automatically have a proven icebreaker, especially with the toughest to talk to colleagues.

If you want you can try a few of these links to get the skinny on your drink preferences.

You might have a couple of wildcards ones like a specific craft beer along with a fall back in case the place that does not have have much variety.

A good one is to learn the story behind it (India Pale Ale) here, or get a primer on the history of scotch here.

2.) Drink local

When I travel, I always like sampling the local beer or wine.

The fun part is that no matter if you are in Alabama, China, or Russia you will always find something local and you can bet that the locals are always proud of it.

The weapon is using your drink selection to garner peoples love and affection by showing your appreciation for their town or region.

Your secret tool here is going to the Beer Advocate directory in advance where you can look up local beverages by state and city.

Or better yet get The Beer Expert App on your smart phone.  The tool puts a great deal of beverage knowledge at your fingertips including the ability to scan the barcode on your beer and learn all about it (so easy).

Of course, if you can’t get around to doing the research just sling out ”I heard that <___> is good here” and get the conversation  flowing over suds versus the church picnic or global warming.

3.) Listen

Just remember that your Happy Hour strategy has nothing to do with you.

You there to find your hidden treasure that you would never find if you were sitting in an office all day or having lunch in the “corporate caf”.

I usually keep a mental meter running where I listen 75% of the time and only talk 25% of the time at Happy Hour.

Once you get to talking over 25% of the time, you are probably having too much drinky or totally bored with your Happy Hour mates.

In either case, my strategy is shot and it is time to leave.

4.) Don’t get too cozy

You should probably plan to share a little bit more about yourself than they would get in the office but not that much more.

Keep the spotlight on them and you will stay out trouble and leave them thinking you are brilliant conversationalist.

No need in risking your job over a $4 beer.

5.) Leave them wanting more

Easy rule is to leave before you reach the 1.5 hour mark.

Leave them begging you to stay.

You can use any excuse (if really need one) but I recommend being mysterious about it.

You will  usually see things go downhill at that point and any conversation worth following up on can be done the next day.

Just keep in mind that the longer you stay, the higher the risk of getting caught up in gossip, sob stories, or worse…Jaeger shots…

**Bonus Weapon**

The Fake Cocktail (aka Mocktail)

If you want to take your Happy Hour game to the next level, then try not drinking.

Try a Happy Hour where you use one of the luscious fake out cocktails to keep a clear head.

My personal favorite is tonic on the rocks with a lime twist.

It looks just like a respectable gin and tonic with lots of bubbles, etc…

Usually no one even ask what you are drinking because it is gin and tonic is such a versatile cocktail.

Enjoy these Happy Hour strategies responsibly and see career possibilities open up.

To your Crossroads!

Executive X