Advancing Your Career by Seeing the Good Within the Bad

One of the biggest and best moves I made in my career didn’t happen because of my company’s positive traits. It happened based on the problems and obstacles it was facing. The company had a lot of smart engineers working for them and amazing solutions, but they were very bad at explaining what they did. I love to explain things and I knew I could use my ability to help the company, not to mention my own career. While everyone else was looking to make the “perfect company,” I was looking for a certain set of problems that I knew my skill set could fix, which would allow me to make a name for myself. Spotting the opportunity within a problem was a strategy I implemented early on in my career, and it’s brought me success ever since.

At one point, I was working in sales, and I was getting set to take on my first big account or, as we called it, my first “enterprise account.” The problem was the company I worked for was currently suing the company behind this enterprise account. As I’m sure you can guess, it would be pretty hard to sell to a company that you’re suing. A few of my colleagues cracked jokes about my situation and most of my friends were telling me that I should have refused the account. But I didn’t see it as a problem. I was actually glad there was a lawsuit. The way I saw it was that I was still fairly junior in the company, and I never would have gotten my hands on such a big account if there wasn’t a problem with it. Basically, I got it because no one else wanted it. I saw an opportunity where everyone else saw a problem. I figured I just had to be patient and when the lawsuit goes away, I’ll be the one left with this fantastic account. And that’s exactly what happened. It ended up being the biggest account our team had ever seen. I put a sizable down payment on my first house with what I generated from that account.

At another point in my career, my boss had quit. I decided to step up and ask for the job. Many of my colleagues and friends said I was crazy for wanting to take over a team that was in such bad shape, but I just thought that if it wasn’t in bad shape, I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on it. Like my first enterprise account, I wasn’t the smartest person there or the most qualified, but I got it because no one else did. Once again, I saw an opportunity where everyone else only saw a problem. If I could turn the team around, I’d be a hero. Not to mention, getting into management could be a career game changer for me. If I couldn’t turn the team around and things didn’t work out for me, I would at the very least have a management job title on my resume.  The move definitely worked to my advantage and was a fantastic career choice for me.

So whether you’re someone who’s trying to tackle their career or just trying to survive the week and make it until Friday, if you can see the good within the bad, the problem within the opportunity, then your chances of being happy, successful and awesome at being awesome go way above average!