Question of the week #16

ImgresThis is a great question that I am sure many people think about when they are looking back.  It is certainly a question that I have pondered before.

What do you perceive to be the biggest
hiccup/regret/mistake in your professional life? What caused it, and
what did you learn from it?

Before answering this question, I want to be clear that I am not a fan of looking back and doing a shoulda- coulda.  I believe any decision that I made in the past was probably at that moment one for the right reasons.  It is hard to go back and know exactly where your head was and the numerous reasons for that choice at that point.  

So with that being said, I'd say that I tend to just move forward without giving things much thought.  I have become much better at that over time.  Yet for all the career decisions I made, many of them have been helpful as I do believe the dots always connect and you learn from each experience regardless if the experience was good or bad.  

There have been many times over my career where I thought to myself, "I could do that", "why did I not go into the career instead", "I wish someone had told me that about that career because I would have been really good at that."  But at this point it is irrelevant.  

The biggest hiccup/regret/mistake I made was getting into bed with some really bad people when I worked in the garment center.  I learned a lot from those mistakes.  The other one is that I spent a lot of time being the number 2.  I was so competent that I made up for all the number 1's mistakes but never got the applause I deserved.  I learned from that too and made a conscious decision to resign from doing that ever again.  

I feel very lucky that my career path has been a long roller-coaster.  I stayed home for awhile with the kids and I am really glad that I did that.  I always managed to keep my fingers in something evenw when I leaned towards home vs career at that point.  Also, the road is long and I might be able to still pull off a few things that I still want to do, career-wise.   


Comments (Archived):

  1. leeschneider

    “I believe any decision that I made in the past was probably at that moment one for the right reasons. It is hard to go back and know exactly where your head was and the numerous reasons for that choice at that point.”Like

  2. falicon

    I’ve always thought of myself as a very strong #2…as a whole it hasn’t bothered me, but I do think that is one of the big things that keeps me building out my own things (where I’m the whole team)…

  3. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m a big believer, too, in a “no regrets” policy. However, when I’m asked if there’s anything I would like to have done differently, I know the answer: been a better networker. I always doubted the power of a great network and felt my hard work and dedication was all that were necessary. I looked at networking as the “lazy person’s” way to success. Now I know better, of course.

    1. Gotham Gal

      networking is not easy for everyone.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Yep – I’m sure that played a part in my so-called skepticism.

  4. Wavelengths

    Networking is incredibly important, but many, very talented people believe that it’s a short-cut that they shouldn’t have to take. No. Nuh, uh! If you really want “to dance” then be wired in so that someone will invite you onto the dance floor!I believe that women have many issues that tend to make them step back.Some are the concern about their family responsibilities, and their reluctance to put themselves forward in the same aggressive way as a man would in the same position.Some issues are the societal discrimination (STILL!) that tends to get the man promoted over the woman, unless the woman already owns the company!You are very fortunate. You made some decisions that have propelled you forward, but I can’t imagine you could have foreseen that. Many women might have made the same decisions as you, but without your network, they would have fallen “back down to the floor, from where they had formerly been bumping the glass ceiling” after they stayed home with the kids.No criticism. Just observation.Falicon is right, though, there is a lot to be said for being a powerful #2. A really good #1 needs that kind of strong “right arm.” As long as the appreciation is there …

    1. Gotham Gal

      interesting thoughts.

  5. Anastasia

    My biggest mistake was asking for/taking less than I deserved. Thankfully, I stood up for myself and my work as soon as I gathered my inner power. And when I did, it all changed (the way my co-wokers see me and treat me, my salary, my status, my perspective, my life). I never settled since for anything less, in every aspect: work, relationships, love, money.

  6. Velocity Local

    Taking it on a positive side, regretting mistakes done is not even a bad thing. What’s learned from every experience is a guiding light to never do it again or avoid it at least. Professional life is where we’re often tested to the best of our abilities; since life is an endless learning, we can always keep up, can’t we?