Just because you landed your dream job doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing for here on out. Avoid these career blunders as you transition to your new job.
Imagine for a second you were offered the job beyond your wildest dreams. It pays well, the location is amazing, and it will take your career to the next level. Awesome, right?
Even if everything sounds great, hold it right there. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Potential dangers could be hiding behind all the perks of this seemingly amazing job. And if you aren’t prepared, you could sabotage your career once you realize everything’s not as picture-perfect as you imagined.
To avoid damaging your life and career, you might want to learn from the American-English hybrid comedy Episodes (starring Matt LeBlanc, a.k.a. Joey from Friends, as himself.) (Click here to share this thought.)
In the show, the husband-wife writer team Sean and Beverly get the chance to shoot the U.S. version of their successful British comedy series. They head to LA where they face excessive cultural differences, absurd personalities and unrealistic expectations from their bosses.
While it’s fun to watch, you wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Don’t let the entertainment business background fool you. Episodes has plenty to teach when it comes to your career. Here are eight lessons Sean and Beverly learn the hard way on the show. Avoid making the same mistakes with your own career.
1. Have your backup plan ready
Sean and Beverly are often stuck with unreasonable demands from the network and have to keep working together despite personal problems. If they had more ideas at the ready, their work would be less stressful.
TV writers are often advised to have several ideas to pitch at any given point. The same tip applies for all careers: Keep your options open.
Until you sign your contract (and even then, things are hardly ever set in stone), be prepared for people to change their minds and other unpleasant possibilities. Keeping your resume updated never hurts, for instance.
2. Prepare for culture shock
Even if you’re not leaving your hometown or country, your new job will likely have a different way of doing things. Yes, your day-to-day life probably won’t be as drastically different as moving from London to LA and everyone you meet might not seem like aliens.
But differences like company culture, bureaucracy or even your new boss’s management style can take some getting used to. It’s easier to be prepared than stunned over and over again. Do your research beforehand so you know as much as possible what you’re getting into.
3.Learn to handle politically incorrect people
The fictional Matt LeBlanc is insensitive, politically incorrect and sometimes annoying, and he’s not the only one. In real life, you’ll meet plenty of people who seem to be void of professionalism, common sense and good manners. Learn to tolerate, ignore or handle. They aren’t going anywhere.
4. Steer clear of burning bridges
In Episodes,Matt LeBlanc has been a jerk to his Friends cast members. When he needs one of them to appear on his show, they all turn him down. (As far as I know, Matt is on good terms with them in real life.)
Try to take differences and problems in stride. You never know who you might need help from. You don’t have to be phony or a pushover, just try not to lose your cool.
5. Network when and where appropriate
I had a great public relations teacher who said PR was about three things: networking, networking and networking. Sage advice, and it also applies to career management.
I landed a part-time teaching gig I love simply because I mentioned to a friend I was interested in teaching. She had just started working for an education consultancy firm and her boss was looking for a teacher. Yes, I got and kept the job due to my own skills. But the introduction came through networking.
Beverly and Sean are terrible networkers. They mostly keep to themselves, and they barely socialize (or interact) with their own cast. Their show isn’t successful and the network has a new manager. Even if they return to London, having friends and connections in Hollywood can help them.
6. Don’t get involved with your boss
There might be some love stories out there, but you’ll possibly end up complicating your life. Don’t let your skills and reputation be overshadowed by your private life.
In Episodes Carol, the assistant network executive, makes this mistake. Her boss Merc is pretty obnoxious, but love is blind, and she hesitates when the network offers her his job. She dumps him soon after, and wants the job. But the network has already hired someone else.
7. Hire capable people
Beverly and Sean suffer from having the world’s most incapable (and reluctant) secretary. It decreases motivation and productivity. Having good manners is expected, but it doesn’t mean you have to put up with people who don’t do their jobs.
8. Be ready for your ideas to be tweaked
The funniest parts of the show are when the LA executive transforms the distinctively British parts into scenes for an American audience. For example, he makes the old, fat boarding school headmaster a hockey coach in the form of Matt LeBlanc.
It’s up to you to decide how much change you’re willing to accept, but your ideas will often shape and transform once editors, managers and bosses get involved. Don’t get too fixated on the purity of your ideas. If your projects take unacceptable turn, you have two options: Get upset about it or enjoy the ride.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a great opportunity. But it’s only to your advantage to be ready for the potential situations and problems that can arise no matter how awesome a job seems on paper.