11 Career Zingers
Small Nudges of Career Advice to Perk You Up
by David Zinger
Why Career Zingers?
Career Zingers gives you small nudges of advice, direction,
and perspective for your career development.
It is here to help you when you feel confused, uncertain or
lost in your career path, you are wondering what your next
step is on your career, you want to sustain your career
progress, you want to manage and master your own
career, or you simply desire a small idea to nudge your
Career Zingers is the perfect resource to pass on to
someone else you know at work or home who could use a
few good nudges on their career path. You are welcome to
distribute this document within your workplace to help
your co-workers enhance their career self-management.
Caution: reading this book is not a substitute for taking
action and reading by itself will not advance your career.
What is career?
We tend to define career as an occupation or profession
often requiring special training or education. Yet career
also means to run or move rapidly along. The fuller view of
career is a person’s progress or general course of action
In 1980’s (I know, I go back a few years) career
development was defined by Donald Wolfe and David Kolb
as, “one’s whole life, not just occupation. As such, it
concerns the whole person, needs and wants, capacities
and potentials, excitements and anxieties, insights and
blind spots, warts and all. More than that, it concerns
him/her in the ever-changing contexts of his/her life.”
I am not sure career zingers will help you remove warts but
it may help you with all that other stuff.
I simply define career with 8 words: good life lived well
with others every day
1. The Wooden Yardstick
Comparing yourself or your career development to others
is to transform yourself into a wooden yard stick. You may
be able to measure things but you are no longer human.
The next time you feel jealous, diminished, or envious of
another person, ask yourself:
“Do I want to be a wooden yard stick or a living human
being who is simply incomparable?”
2. The Career Moment
Too often we view career development as aspirations,
goals, and future results. In our pursuit of the future we
miss the living moment of our career.
To have an amazing career ensure you don’t miss where
you are because you are in a blind craving and endless
pursuit of where you want to be.
3. On The Path
As we speed along, many of us make resolutions and
dream of an idealized time ahead. Many of our resolutions
are neither attainable nor sustainable. We get caught up in
the frenetic compulsion to get to some idealized, perhaps
even mythical, destination.
Exit the career freeway, stop your motor mind, and start
taking steps on your unique career path.
§ it is helpful to travel together,
§ appreciate the scenery,
§ enjoy some snacks along the way,
§ keep walking on.
4. Clean Smudges
During the day when I look through my glasses I often
fail to notice how many smudges are on the glass –
blurring and obscuring my worldview. As I take off my
glasses – and look at them – I see how much they are in
need of cleaning.
Before launching into your career and world - take time
to look at the concepts, ideas, and evaluations that act
as your intentional and evaluative career lenses.
Give these concepts a solid cleaning to remove career
smudges so that you have a fresh view of where you are
and where you are headed.
5. Be Resolute not Coercive
Each New Year’s Day signals a time when many of us make
resolutions to advance our career or begin the 100 other
self-improvement initiatives we scheme up.
The good news is that we don’t resist change while the bad
news is, we resist coercion. At times, we can be self-
coercive with our own career development.
Trying to make ourselves or force ourselves to be better
can sow the seeds of separation from ourselves, internal
tension, and feelings of failure.
Be resolute in your work without being coercive with
6. Be a Hit
Ed Sheeran had the biggest hit song of 2017: Shape of
You. Bernadette Jiwa, writing about lessons learned from
the biggest hit of 2017 stated, “you have to put yourself
into the situations that give you the best chance of doing
The best situation I know to give yourself a chance for
great work is to continually strive to do good work. I
define work engagement as: “good work done well with
others every day.”
If you do good work every day, once in a while the
situation may arise that you will stumble into great work.
7. You are Invited
As you strive to enhance your career avoid being coercive
with yourself because when you are coercive you set
yourself up for guilt and failure. You end up transforming
part of yourself that can be an ally into an adversary.
A powerful way to change this is to frame your desired
career changes as personal invitations, not impositions. I
like receiving invitations. I don’t like feeling I am being
pushed into something — even if it is me pushing myself.
Career development requires a caring and careful approach
to embark down a new or renewed path. Are you ready,
willing, and able to accept the invitation of personal career
management and mastery?
8. Trash Talk
On a cold January morning, the garbage truck and
recycling truck picked up my trash and recyclables. Every
week two large bins of material from my home either
gets thrown out or recycled.
Too many of us in our career development are always
trying to add, attain, obtain, or achieve. I encourage you
to respond to the following three questions:
1. Am I able to identify what I need to throw out of my
life versus what I can reuse or recycle?
2. What is weighing me down in my career that I need
3. What skills, strengths, and experience can I recycle
or transform into a new way of working?
Before you add more to your career, take out the trash!
9. Under Construction
I am not a fan of either positive thinking or negative
thinking because they are both shallow and too one-sided.
Sometimes good things are not as good as we thought or
bad things turn out to be good in time. Good things
happen for a variety of reasons and bad things will
Experiences involve more than our thinking yet thinking is
a tremendous force in career development. That’s why I
advocate constructive thinking. Regardless of what occurs
determine what you can construct out of the experience.
Our careers are large and lengthy self-structures built over
As you develop your career, hard hats are optional, but
know that regardless of where you are on your career path,
be it your first job or deep into retirement, your career is
always “under construction.”
10. Standing Naked
I was in the change room at the gym today. One
gentleman suddenly realized he had left his gym clothes
at home. "I was in such a hurry when I left home I just
forgot my gym stuff at home," he bemoaned.
As we race off in our career we may inadvertently leave
something, or someone important, behind. Perhaps you
inadvertently left a very cherished activity behind or
maybe you achieved tremendous success only to realize
that you left your spouse or family behind because you
failed to give them the attention they needed.
Take one minute each day to ensure that you have what
you need, and who you need, as you move forward. There
is no point arriving at your destination only to end up
standing naked, lacking what you need.
11. A Fresh Start
There is the possibility of growing in the most difficult of
places. New Year’s Day is fading fast. Perhaps you
dreamed of a career change or made a career resolution
and broke it. You believe all is lost, thinking now you’ll
wait until your birthday in late August to make a fresh
start on your career.
When can we start over? The truth is, anytime. The next
moment invites you to begin again. And the moment
after, sends a second invitation. And each moment does
this again and again and again.
Don’t dither, postpone, or procrastinate on career change
for a special event or specific date on the calendar. Close
the door on real or imagined setbacks and open the door
for a fresh start right now. And if this fresh start doesn’t
proceed as planned the next moment after that is a great
time to begin, yet again.
David Zinger offers you his absolute best in career, work,
and leadership engagement speeches, workshops,
coaching, and consulting.
David has spoken around the world and he wrote 4
books on work. He invested 24,000 hours in employee
engagement. David was a counsellor educator at the
University of Manitoba and a career development coach
and employee counsellor for Seagram/Diageo.
Engage with David today to improve, enhance, or
develop your career. David offers fresh and invigorating
speeches, workshops, coaching, and consulting on
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