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5 Career Lessons of the Clinton/Obama Race

June 10th, 2008 · 1 Comment

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Just a quick note before I get the comments: there’s no Obama or Hillary bias intended here. I’ve not been a supporter of either candidate.

1) Experience is not always a trump card. There are times when all the experience in the world is not what people are looking for. Because…

2) Sometimes people are looking for new ideas. In this modern business world, the “next big thing” is a powerful notion. Promising innovation and new ways of thinking can be the quickest way up the career ladder.

3) Never underestimate your competition. The truth is, Obama, the relative newcomer to nationwide campaigning, built a more effective and efficient political machine than Clinton, who had decades of experience. Dismiss your rivals at your own peril.

4) Don’t forget the little people. For this, I’m using the analogy of small donors and Clinton’s mistake of not contesting the caucuses energetically enough. Having all the big bosses on your side is certainly a plus. But don’t ignore the rank and file. The “little people” can help you get ahead in a million tiny ways that can’t even be anticipated. It might be a pain to glad-hand and reach out to the rank and file, but when it comes time for advancement, they can be your consituency.

5) There’s a fine line between inevitability and hubris. The famous story is that Bill Gates has spent the last 30 years paranoid of every little startup company that comes along. If you’re Goliath, you always have to keep an eye out for the Davids. You should never allow yourself to believe that something is your due. You shouldn’t expect anyone to hand you your career goal. You should always expect to work hard for it.

Related posts:

  1. Obama And Today’s Workplace
  2. Who’s Joined The Rat Race Now?
  3. Broken Promises Can Break Your Career
  4. How To Think Like Management (And How Doing So Can Help Your Career)
  5. 40 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career
  6. Should You Consider A Career Change?

Tags: Office Politcs · WorkLife

  • Dee

    Very good lessons. It was interesting to watch Hillary fall. It was gradual and then it quickly accelerated downhill.