No. 19 – Six Signs That Your Job May Be At Risk

Posted on February 23rd, 2015 by in Career Management Tips & Techniques

You can do everything right, and things can still go splat in your career. As John Elway, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, says, “Not only do you have to be good, but you have to be lucky.”

Keep alert for some of the warning signs your job is at risk.  This is not to be defensive but offensive in managing your career.

* You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, and around you.

* The number of people who report to you is significantly reduced; budgets are cut.

* You increasingly feel that your energy, enthusiasm, and smarts are getting you nowhere.

* You experience notable indignities, such as being ignored in meetings, being left out of the loop on key decisions, or being omitted from the circulation lists for important e-mails.

* You have frequent run-ins with peers.

* You are repeatedly passed over for the most interesting, important, or prestigious assignments.

It’s smart to pay attention to your gut feeling on this.  Before you get panicky, ask questions to ferret out feelings vs. reality. Regardless of what you hear today, prepare for being “unlucky” someday. Keep your resume updated, and step up your efforts in expanding your network of contacts. Prepare emotionally and financially, so you regain a sense of control in your destiny.

– Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 18 – Seconds Make or Break a Career

Posted on February 2nd, 2015 by in Career Management Tips & Techniques


The Seattle Seahawks coach’s decision to pass vs. run the football from the one yard line in the final seconds of the Super Bowl game changed his legacy and the player’s lives forever. Their six-month playing season of all-out effort turned on a few seconds’ decision and action at the end of the game.

Rosa Parks changed history with her few seconds of refusing to go to the back of the bus.

Daily we see lives ended in highway crashes by a few seconds texting.

Similarly, seconds can make or break your career.


- answer a single question intelligently or stupidly at the right or wrong time
– say hello and engage in conversation with the stranger in the elevator (or not), who turns out to be the decision maker on your proposal
– speak up and ask a question vs. sitting silently like the rest of the group
– walk into a meeting with a confident comportment, relaxed expression on your face, and purposeful pacing, or slink in and slouch with an unengaged demeanor
– make one more phone call, send one more email, take a bit more initiative on a project before you leave work for the day

Months and years of hard effort are necessary, but seconds of doing things a little differently/a little better than the next person is the big separator.

Think about it: If you take 3 seconds today to do 3 actions a little differently/a little better, that’s 9 seconds that could change your life.

-Debra Benton

No. 17 – How Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Ups His Game

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

Earlier this week, I recommended that you write your story — where you came from, what and where you learned what you know, the experiences that caused you to be you, and so on.

Korn/Ferry Briefings magazine interviewed Pete Carroll to find out how his leadership philosophy evolved after regrouping from being fired from the New England Patriots:

“I wasn’t sure yet what was really at the fundamental core and essence of who I was. I needed to figure that out if I was ever going to have a chance….I picked up a notebook, and from that point forward I started writing down my thoughts about what was important to me in coaching. I was trying to get at the essence of what I was all about and what was meaningful to me.  And out of that came a clear realization that I’m a competitor and that’s the way I had spent my whole life……So competition became the central theme of our program, and I realized that everything I was doing, that I would undertake, would be with a competitor’s mindset….And we needed to figure out who the guys (players) were that we were working with. We needed to understand them as well as we possibly could. We needed to uncover their unique, special qualities that made them them….” says Carroll.

So that’s another reason to write your story.  To find out what you already know but kind of forgot about yourself.  It’s a good practice to learn the same about your own team players. If you help them find themselves and find their best qualities, then you’ll help them in their highest ability to perform.


Photo:  Ted S. Warren via Flickr Creative Commons

No. 16 – Why Should You Write Your Biography?

Posted on January 26th, 2015 by in Professional Growth

Emerson Spartz, the 27-year-old Internet media entrepreneur, recently raised $8 million in venture capital funding for his aggregate site At age 12 he created the most popular Harry Potter fan site in the world, MuggleNet.  Spartz tells The New Yorker magazine that when he was growing up, his parents made him read four short biographies of successful people every single day.

Not a bad idea for your kids — or you — and is one good source.

But don’t just read others’ biographies; write your own too. Include:

  • Where and how you grew up
  • Early influences and influencers who shaped you
  • Choices you had and decisions (good and bad) that you made

Write your career and life progression but don’t make it obituary-like with just the facts.  Add the “color” of your life — your loves, your losses, your dreams, and your goals going forward.

Your significant other will enjoy reading it, and when the kids are old enough, give them a copy.

Think about it. How many of you have lost a parent or someone important to you, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to read their life story?  In addition, it’s a great refresher/reminder when you have to talk about your background in a workplace conversation.

– Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 15 – Speaking Highlights and a New Video

Posted on January 21st, 2015 by in Speaking Professionally

As a professional speaker, I need to have a video demonstrating my style and sampling my content.  Videographer Ben Westdorp put together this new, 18-minute short for me.

If you know someone planning an event and looking for a speaker please forward this link or direct them to my website’s Speaking page. Thank you in advance!

– Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

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    Debra Benton Discusses How to Exceed in Your Career