Between the Lines of Career Stories
There's a question podcast listeners have asked me more than once, incidentally, for more than one episode. This will be after I've interviewed a high ranking business leader that shared some of their career journey. The question goes something like this:
"Her career sounded so ideal. Do you think she just got lucky didn't run into many obstacles or challenges on the way?"
The inquirer means this seriously.
I think we know deep down that there are all kinds of reasons a person might choose not to disclose challenges they've had to overcome in the workplace -- not the least of which is, arguably, most challenges involve other people.
But this is what I would like those inquirers to take away...
When a person gets to a certain stage in their career, the ability to talk about negative things that have happened may become less socially acceptable. A high-profile, highly visible leader for a large, publicly traded company, for example, is a de facto representative of their employer. Part of their job is to be for the business. In other words, it is their job to represent the company well in all public opportunities.
It's definitely not that nothing bad happened in their career; it's simply that they are deliberate about what they speak about publicly, most especially when it comes to the company they work for and represent.
Sometimes, if you read between the lines of what they do say, you can hear other stories. And other times, you don't have to read between the lines because you can hear -- they are simply choosing to focus on the positive people who have helped them on their trajectory.