Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top 4 Public Career Blunders for Jan 2009

January 2009 will certainly go down as one of the most significant months in our country's relatively brief history. As someone who shares insights about career and workplace issues it is hard for me not to use that prism to summarize what was January 2009.

Not only did we see professionals publicly recognized for, what we would all agree is career excellence, regardless of our politics, but we also saw others make career blunders and missteps.

Here are my Top 4 Public Career Blunders for January 2009:

1. Milorad "Rod" R. Blagojevich – code name “Blago”, was impeached and removed from office as the Governor of Illinois on January 29, 2009. This, after he was caught on tape in “private” conversations allegedly selling the Chicago Senate seat vacated by now President Obama. This 52 year-old Baby Boomer, quick on his feet, is clearly already pitching his new career in broadcasting. His visit to Letterman shows he is quite a natural. I have a feeling he is going to tell us eventually that what we heard on those tapes was really him running his lines for a script he's been working on. I can see it now – Blago does Broadway!

Career Lesson – Always be preparing for your next career opportunity BUT remember – personal ethics do matter!

2. Bernie Madoff’s career came crashing down as the previously admired Wall Street icon, gets turned in by his sons, for running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The number of lives destroyed and the people forced to extend careers due to lost savings, will probably never be fully known.

Career Lesson – Careers built on lies, don’t last! Again, personal ethics do matter!

3. Timothy Geitner's pending promotion was almost halted due to his failure to pay $44K in personal taxes. I don't know about you, but I didn’t buy the “personal oversight” excuse. Having said that, how many of us would want our careers derailed because of what we owe to the IRS or Macy's for that matter? Geitner at the Treasury Department kind of makes me think about the fox guarding the hen house.

Career Lesson – Live like you would be embarrassed if your mother found out what you did. Ethics do matter even when you think no one is watching!

4. In the dead of night, for "personal reasons", Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg ended, what many called a lukewarm bid, for the job of Senator from New York. Kennedy was applying for the job vacated by Senator Hillary Clinton, who has now been promoted to US Secretary of State. Kennedy’s first big interview on Meet the Press, left many openly expressing concerns about her mastery of those pesky interview "soft skills" we HR folks love to talk about. Not sure what her next career move will be. I am guessing it will be something out of the public spotlight.

Career Lesson – Be willing to take chances and pursue what you want with energy and vigor!

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