Career Lessons from TV

Because TV Doesn't Really Rot Your Brain

Archive for the ‘Changing Careers’ Category

“Heroes” – Finding a Career Path

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Noah and Claire talk about new career paths in "Heroes"

Noah and Claire talk about new career paths in "Heroes"

Last night’s episode of “Heroes” looks at another side of careers common in today’s job market- being forced out of your job and career and forced to find another calling. So how does one find their calling?

In “Acceptance” Noah Bennet (played by Jack Coleman) has left his job with the government hunting mutants and has turned down any opportunities to do so for anyone else. Noah’s daughter Claire (played by Hayden Panetierre) visits him in his spartan apartment where he lives also facing divorce. As Claire spends the day trying to get her father to look for normal work, Noah’s at a loss on what to do next in his career in light of his dark and secretive past. Claire imparts a sage idea:

Life changes. We all change. Sometimes you, have to remember who you were, to figure out who you want to be.”

By the end of the episode, Noah realizes there’s no turning away from his life investigating and uncovering conspiracies regarding mutants.

Searching Your Soul for Your Career Path

There’s no easy way to look at yourself and finding your calling. It takes the slow working tools of life experience, pleasure, pain, triumph and tragedy to shape the passions that define your calling. An honest self examination of those passions and who you are as a whole can help you in your search. Alaina Love suggests identifying what kind of worker you are and evaluating opportunities as outlets for your passions in “Discover Your Passions to Find the Right Job“. Love has identified 10 archetypes to categorize what type of worker you are to figure out what kind of work you’d be happy doing.

Hard Looks (and Feedback) at Yourself and From Others

Emotion and stressful circumstances can make it difficult to get an honest look at who you are and who you want to be, which is why it’s important to do as much of it outside your head as possible:

1. Keep a Journal– get it on paper and look at it after you’ve gotten some distance from it. See if you gain any insight from what you’ve put down.

2. Ask “Trusted” Associates for Feedback– Notice I didn’t say friends or loved ones. While you need them for moral support, you need someone who’s going to be impartial about their impressions of you and your past work.

3. Revisit Things (and Find Things) That Inspire You– see if they’re still meaningful. See where they take you.

4. Make a Plan– once you’ve found a calling, make a plan to pursue it to include timelines and exit strategies. Point is not to get stuck or flounder if it doesn’t work out.

There’s no shame in finding yourself with out a path. Trick is not to beat yourself up, and to listen closely to yourself for the new path to who you want to be.

How did you find you calling? Share it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

October 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm

“Eureka” – Career Choices to Make

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Jack Carter facing change and choices on "Eureka"

Jack Carter facing change and choices on "Eureka"

I thought I would save my next post for when the fall TV season is in full swing, but I felt it was important to throw this one out there. In the season finale of “Eureka”, Sheriff Carter is faced with a life choice. Made me wonder what is the best way to handle life choices such as career change without creating another ‘fail’ moment.

In “What Goes Around, Comes Around”, Carter faces a couple of big changes in his life. His daughter Zoe is going away to attend Harvard. His girlfriend Tess (played by Jaime Ray Newman) is leaving for a job in Australia. Carter finds himself wondering whether to follow Tess to Australia (which may or may not end his tenure in Eureka) or not. Obviously he’s sticking around or else they’d have to call the show whatever Australian town he’d move to, but the point is we all face big decisions, in our lives and our careers. Is there a way to make those decisions less scary? Selena Dehne has some suggestions in “Confused About Changing Careers?“. Aside from doing research into your decision, Dehne also writes that you should consider alternatives to retraining and exploring your career path options in your career change.

Finding Yourself Is Never Easy

For those NOT blessed enough to find your calling when you were a kid, it can be scary making a career change. I’ve made several myself. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is are you making this change for you and your own happiness, or out of obligation to something or someone else. If it’s the latter, chances are it won’t last. Given changes made with the best of intentions still may not pan out, but hopefully you would’ve learned something valuable and applied that knowledge to new experiences. So, if you do find yourself facing a change, my advice is to be sure it’s in the pursuit of your own happiness.

How do you handle career and life changes? Share it here.

Know of a TV show you’d like me to write about? Let me know by using the Contact Me link.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 22, 2009 at 5:35 am

The “Royal Pains” of Self-Employment

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Hank faces the possible end of HankMed in "Royal Pains"

Hank faces the possible end of HankMed in "Royal Pains"

In the season finale of “Royal Pains”, we see HankMed coming apart at the seems. Divya’s getting married and Evan has underhandedly lost all the company’s money in a scam involving his father. While the episode can illustrate the pitfalls of running your own business, there are other issues to consider when considering self-employment.

While Hank up until now has been successful working for himself as a concierge doctor, the circumstances around his venture into self-employment aren’t exactly typical. Like any other life changing decision, there are factors to consider before going down this road. Aside from the entrepreneurial questions you have to answer, there are also financial, legal and personality issues that factor into a successful business. Martha E. Mangelsdorf provides a brief questionnaire of all the things to consider before working for yourself in “Should You Try Self-employment? 12 Things to Consider“.

Having tried self-employment myself, I can say the article asks some very good questions as well as providing other resources to help you start your own business. I can also say that it takes a lot of soul-searching to decide whether or not you’re suited for self employment. You’ll need passion and ability to manage and minimize risk to keep your business both profitable and personally rewarding. While the season finale ends in a cliffhanger, you know Hank will use his uncanny ability to think on his feet to save his practice and “probably” his relationship with Jill. If you can think on your feet too, that’s a big plus in working for yourself.

As the star of your own show, take a page from Hank’s story. As he did in the Pilot, put some serious thought in before starting your own business. It could mean the difference between a defining success or a forgettable failure.

What are your questions about starting your own business? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm

“Royal Pains” – Agent of ‘Career’ Change

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Sadly, it’s not anything grandiose as that, but it’s another amusing example of how USA Network’s social media offerings work the “career advice” angle.

Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson on the "Royal Pains" Website

Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson on the "Royal Pains" Website

The “Royal Pains” website format is nearly identical to the format of the “Burn Notice” website. The only difference is that the “Royal Pains” website is about doctors and the Hamptons, not spies and Miami. One interesting section is called the “Could You Make It As A Concierge Doctor?“. It’s a fun spin on career assessment tests administered by career counseling services. It’s not so much about medicine, but your attitudes about available medical supplies, work environment, bedside manner, schedules and rich people. Not that I cared for being a concierge doctor but I took it anyway. It’s nice to know in a pretend world I can hack it.

In the real world though, it’s important to do some introspection and research if you’re thinking about changing careers, as Barbara Reinhold suggests in “The 10 Worst Mistakes Career Changers Make“. The one thing Reinhold writes about that I can identify with to a degree is using money as a deciding factor. Whether it’s greed or desperation driven, it’s gonna end up biting you in the long run if you let money decide your career moves. I’ve learned that lesson all too well, and now I’m pursuing my career goals with some self-knowledge and awareness of skills. Regardless of your reasons for changing careers, it’s important to do your homework before you take the big step.

Know of any web offerings that helped you in your career change? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Lesson from “Burn Notice”- Recovering From a “Burn”

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Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen on "Burn Notice"

Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen on "Burn Notice"

One of my favorite shows (when it’s on) is “Burn Notice” (Thursdays @ 9pm on USA). For the uninitiated, it’s about a former spy named Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan) who was blacklisted or “burned” by the CIA and dumped in Miami with nothing. While trying to figure out who got him burned and finding his way back into the CIA, he’s asked to use his espionage skills against criminal elements victimizing the innocent. On the surface, it’s about a cold, calculating, and dangerous individual that finds his humanity with his friends and family who back him up in his exploits, but it’s also about a story many of us have lived through. For reasons justified or not, we were dismissed from the jobs we loved and left alone to figure out our next move. So if you’ve been fired, sacked, laid off, or burned, what’s your next move?

Look Back Before Figuring Out What’s Next

As of the episode entitled “Signals and Codes”, Michael is hell-bent on getting his old job back, but it’s obvious to his friends, family, and even the fans that he’s already made a good life with his friends helping the innocent, and getting his old job back would be toxic to both him and the CIA. While most are smart enough not try and get their old jobs back (though numerous are still prone to pining for their exes), many don’t take the time to take a step back, go over what’s happened, and determine whether a change in career path is warranted. That’s what Anthony Balderrama from suggests in his article “Make Getting Fired Work for You.”

In many cases, a change in career path is exactly what’s needed to develop new skills, appreciate new aspects of a career and recognize countless other opportunities that would’ve gone unseen if plodding along the same path. Not saying changing direction is always the case. It depends on you. If you can honestly say that doing the same thing for another company or for yourself is what’s best, go for it. Unfortunately that’s not the case for Michael. While he has aced the looking back part by figuring out who burned him at the end of last season, there’s a lot he still doesn’t know about them.  He doesn’t look forward to what opportunities he has in his current situation either. He has a chance to rekindle a relationship with his ex-girlfriend Fiona (played by Gabrielle Anwar), work with his best friend Sam Axe (played by Bruce Campbell) helping those in need and to re-connect with his estranged family. He also has a chance to practice his espionage skills without having to compromise his morals or ethics- a rare benefit indeed. So if you’re “burned”, take that step back. Figure out what happened, what needs to change. Make plans and go forward.

As For Me…

While I’ve taken a hard look at all the jobs I’ve held, taken stock in all that’s happened, made moves I thought were in the best interests of a career, I’m still waiting for the payoff. Yes, it can take some time, but in many cases, it eventually yields more than what was originally imagined. Vanessa Williams comes first to mind, but there are many other examples, famous or not, that have made the best of an unfortunate situation. Sure, fear and desperation can derail you, but it’s just a matter of keeping your chin up, your friends close, and remembering there’s still a lot of life left to live out there.

So do you have a career lesson from TV?  How did you, or how are you handling your job search or career? I’m happy to hear from you. Just a few ground rules- no personal attacks, name-calling, or otherwise ruining a perfectly good discussion. I’ll put up a new post in a few days. Talk to you soon.

Written by Reginald Bautista

July 11, 2009 at 11:21 pm