“No” Doesn’t Mean No in Your Career Unless You Want It To

Career Coach Sherri Thomas tells viewers how to re-brand their career on NBC-TV Phoenix.

Sometimes, I get told “no” in my career. But it doesn’t stop me. It brings out the gritty side in me 🙂 

A few years ago, I desperately wanted a higher position and a higher paycheck. I was working for a regional retail chain as an advertising copywriter with a small salary, and felt significantly under-utilized. After four years, I asked my manager about development opportunities in our relatively flat organization and he told me there weren’t any.

Being stifled like that really frustrated me.

I realized that if I wanted to advance my career, then I would need to invest in my own development. So I joined the American Marketing Association Phoenix Chapter’s Board of Directors, and within eight months became President. Two years after that, I was named President of their National Council, representing 75,000 members in North America.

That investment of personal time and energy helped me develop my leadership skills, which led me to a new company with a 6-figure salary job.

How many times have you been stifled in your career?
No options. No opportunities. No budget for professional development.

Throughout my career I’ve learned one thing: I own my career – not someone else. A few years into my new job, I decided to go for an even higher paying technical position. The only drawback was that it required a project management certification that I didn’t have. After 30-days of studying around the clock, I had my certification, my new job and a bump in pay. I’ve been working at that same Fortune 100 Company as a Program Manager for the past 13 years – yes, I’m a Career Coach who’s driving my own career 🙂 

I look at my career and my own professional development as something I’m driving on my own terms. If it’s something that I really want to do, and I mean really want to do, then I step up and invest in myself.

“No” is not an option in my professional development.

I take full ownership of developing myself, and sometimes that means investing my own personal time, money or even vacation days.

I’m not saying that I like using my vacation days or spending my own money for professional development. But sitting around waiting for the possibility of someone else investing in me isn’t going to help me. I don’t do it for the company I work for. Or for my manager. I develop myself for me.

So how do I determine whether a development opportunity is worth my own personal investment?

I ask myself questions like, What’s in it for me? Could this help me get my next job? Does this feed my passion? Is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? These answers help me determine how badly I want it.

There are blessings that come with being told “no.” It can give you clarity on what’s important. It can cause you to set boundaries on what’s non-negotiable. It can make you bold. It can make you resilient. It can make you stand up and fight for yourself and your career.

Never let someone stop you from growing in your career.

Be smart about which development opportunities you want and then go after them. ‘No” is not a stopping point. It’s a distraction. When a roadblock pops up, do whatever it takes to go around it. You own your career – not someone else. 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360. Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

I’ll be a “Guest DJ” this Saturday…

This Saturday, I’ll be the “guest DJ” on RadioFreePhoenix.com

Sherri Thomas practicing to be a "Guest DJ" on http://RadioFreePhoenix.com on Saturday, Aug 10th, 5PM PST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My career has been full of U-turns.

Some people have a very straight path in their career, but mine has been a series of ups, downs, U-turns, more ups, more downs and a few hairpin lefts.

I certainly don’t plan it that way. But as I look back, I wouldn’t have changed one single thing.

One U-turn came when I was in college at Arizona State University. My dream was to work in television. Growing up, I use to watch the Mary Tyler Moore show and loved how she produced the news. In my eyes, she was what made that news station “click” and I wanted to be just like her. So I focused my sites on becoming a TV news producer.

During my last semester in college, I was interning at the local NBC-TV station, when I was approached by a friend (the now hugely popular DJ “Larry Mac” in Phoenix and Tucson.) We were friends in college and while I interned at three local TV stations, he was a DJ at the campus radio station. He invited me to take a shift as a disc jockey. I politely turned him down. I didn’t see the whole DJ thing fitting into my career plan. Fortunately, he asked me again, and through his encouragement, I said yes!

Now, I wasn’t the smoothest or coolest DJ.
I stumbled. I fumbled. I flailed.

…but, man was I having fun! That is, until the very last day of my last semester.

That’s when the radio station’s operations manager, another ASU student named Danny who was also the Assistant Manager at a nearby Warehouse Record and Tapes store, called me into his office for a final one-on-one exit interview. He bluntly blurted out that I was the worst disc jockey he’d ever heard. I remember him saying, “Nobody in Phoenix will ever hire you.” Ouch.

Granted, I wasn’t very good, but c’mon, the worst DJ he’d ever heard? Seriously?

Right then and there, I put my Mary-Tyler-Moore career plan on hold and made it my mission to get hired as a DJ in Phoenix. Six months later, I had 10,000 listeners on KUKQ, a small hip hop station in Phoenix where I played hits from artists like Robert Palmer, the Pet Shop Boys, the Bangles, and Kool and the Gang every Saturday night. One year later, I switched to an oldies station, KOOL-FM, and talked to 30,000 listeners every Saturday morning. Three years after that, I was in Monterey, California as the new morning show jock at the rock station playing tunes from Van Halen, Bob Segar, Stevie Nicks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I became one of the few women in the country to host my own morning radio show.

I’m writing this article as a thank-you to Danny.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, he was a blessing in my life. Had it not been for him, I would never have taken such a huge risk and experienced the magical, exhilarating, adrenaline-chasing world of being a DJ.

Some people are put in your life to support and encourage you. Others are there to challenge you to be better, stronger, or to simply take a different path. As I look back in my career, I’m grateful to those career-changers in my life. They’ve pushed me out of the nest, pointed me in new directions and helped me find new strengths and talents I never knew I had.

Join me this Saturday, August 10th at 5pm PST as I “guest DJ” on RadioFreePhoenix.com

…and again for an encore presentation on Sunday, August 11th at 3pm PST. I’ll be hanging out with one of my favorite gal pals DJ Liz Boyle and station-owner-rock-star Andy Olsen to reveal my personal all-time TOP 15 favorite songs, plus share a few stories from my DJ days – like the time I met Billy Idol 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360. Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas