Are You Cranberries or Gravy?

by Joe Lavelle on November 24, 2010

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The season of holiday eating is upon us.  Starting with Thanksgiving and going through the celebration of the New Year, we will find ourselves faced with delicious calories time and time again.  For some us, the food is one of our favorite part of the season.  (Just don’t tell that to Aunt Betsy, who insists the entire family anticipates her annual off-key singing at the piano to be the ultimate highlight of the festivities.)

Considering my passion for my work as a career coach . . . OK, and my passion for food . . . it didn’t take long for me to come up with some ways in which our favorite holiday dishes compare to aspects of the professional world.  Here are a few examples:

Cranberries — Everyone has to have a bowl of them on the dining room table.  They are beautiful and add color to any plate.  However, how many people really love the cranberries?  Do they serve much of a purpose beyond looking pretty?  In your company, what essential purpose do you serve?  I hope that you make it your goal to add substance and not just be a well-dressed person who takes up cubicle space.

Gravy — There is no doubt that gravy knows how to network.  You pour some out of the bowl and it slides around introducing itself to every food on the plate.  Gravy has confidence, saying, “I know I can make you taste better.  I know I bring something more to what you already offer.”  Do you bring that same strength to every situation?  When people meet you at a power lunch or a Christmas party, do they end their conversation with you knowing that a continued relationship would be mutually beneficial?

Turkey — This bird is the boss of the holiday dinner.  You eagerly consume it because it tastes great and then it leaves you exhausted afterward.  Sounds like a productive day at the office!  Your employer expects much of you and you participate with all of your energy because you feel invested in the outcome.  But, when you come home, you are ready to put your feet up and watch the game!

Who has some other ideas to add to my “holiday food as symbols of your career” list?

I hope that you all have a tremendous 2010 Holiday Season!  Act As If It Were Impossible to do so!

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