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Running in Place during our Career –And getting nowhere!

Updated: Jun 26

Hope and fear are often two sides of the same coin.

One side tells us to do the best we can in our profession, and people will notice. The other side tells us it safer to wait to be recognized for our good works, than venture out into the unknown –with fear keeping us steadfastly in place.

It can be very much like that little metal wheel with the rodent. Going round-and-round, faster-and-faster, seemingly with no end and no destination.

Does that sound like your career? Why is it fear has such a powerful hold upon us? Why is it we're so filled with hope that someday, certainly, someone will notice our great contributions –and we'll get that promotion, or raise, or extra vacation that we deserve?

I work with a great many job seekers, and those actively working in their career, and each of them faces this similar dilemma: should I stay or should I go? Should I take a risk? Is it worth the risk? The very definition of insanity in terms of career, is to stay stuck in place expecting different results.

Charting those first steps forward after having been frozen in place can be a fearful daunting task.

Similar to a time years ago when I found myself in Yosemite Valley in California, camping at the base of Half Dome, the park’s most photographed feature. I set out to conquer the very top, the story of which you can read more about in the last chapter of my book which is the motivational component to my job search step-by-step guide: Self-Recruiter® Changing the Rules.

We have to change the rules.

We have to take risk. Without risk there is little reward, but I'm talking about measured risk not carelessness. Looking ahead to the challenge, yet not allowing the fear to keep us frozen in place. To look just a step or two ahead, representing a challenge that we can take on. Then, from that new place, taking the next step, and the next step, and the next step. Until one day, we find ourselves in a place we may never have imagined: the very top.

Reinventing your career, whether that's taking it to a new height within your current area of expertise, or venturing into an an entirely new direction, is a similarly scary undertaking. In the 9 or 10 different lectures that I give on job search and career management, I always encourage audience attendees not to be blinded by the sight of the mountain, but simply to look at one or two steps ahead, and begin the journey. After all, the hardest part is taking that first step.

So, what are those first steps to help you reinvent your career?

1) Look back with fondness on your expertise, and retell the best story of your career accomplishments to date.

2) Translate those ‘best parts’ of your background, contributions and achievements into a new telling that is compelling –on a single sheet resume.

3) Take that structural backbone of the great resume (distilled down to its essence) and bring it as the framework to building a great profile on LinkedIn. Then, expand your story in all directions 3-dimensionally, including the other exciting components that did not fit on single page resume. In the end you'll have a ‘3-dimensional Sales Brochure’, all about you, that will drive the reader to a singular conclusion: “If I hire this individual, it will be the best business decision that I make today.”

But, we do have to start with the goal in mind.

Are we looking to reinvent and grow our current career? Or, venture into a completely new direction?

The answer to those questions will determine our next steps because we need to get the reader of either the resume or our LinkedIn profile to see us as the ‘right’ next candidate for our destination. If our goal is to grow the current career, the reader must begin to see us as we see ourselves, understanding that we are the higher-level candidate they seek. If we are looking to transition into a completely new area, the reader must see the transferable skills combined with our passion and strong focus for this new direction. That's how you begin to outmaneuver those folks that may have cookie-cutter background for the field that you would like to venture into.

But, it begins with the first step. Take your first step, then the second step, and then all the steps after that. Become excited once again for what you offer your current or potential future employer –and chart your own destiny.

If all this is still too scary for you, maybe the solution is to join my SelfRecruiter® Job Search & Career Boot Camp.

A structural framework that can help you, step-by-step, begin to navigate and take on the individual challenges necessary to move closer to your goal and to stop being frozen place.


If that's the right step for you, check out my website and Boot Camp.

If you're looking to go in a new direction, and need further inspiration, check out my lecture, Career Reinvention.


John Crant

Author, Career Coach & Speaker on Job Search and Career Management

Featured Speaker for

The New York Public Library's JOB SEARCH CENTRAL


In the Media: As Seen As Featured in 

amNY, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal (and its, CRAIN'S New York BusinessForbes, CNNBBC, FOX News (on Social Media Marketing), AriseTV, New York PostThe Huffington PostEssence magazine, CareerBuilder and The Ladders

On the Radio: As Guest: WHCR 90.3 FM "The Voice of Harlem"


As an industry manager, executive recruiter, recruiting & sales trainer, event speaker, and as VP of a nationwide system of recruitment offices, I have seen most every aspect of the hiring process and this varied insight is what provides the clarity you will find in this book.


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