Craft the Go/No-Go for Your Career

By: Danielle Hilmo, BWBR Architects, Inc. 

Cathy Hutchinson of Idibri was full of enthusiasm and ideas to help professional services marketers make good decisions that will shape their careers. The presentation was centered around five key points.

Career Go/No-Go Protocols

  1. PEOPLE – Will you be surrounded with people that are a joy to work with, or are terrible/incompetent?
  2. POSITION – Does the work fit your competencies?
  3. PRIORITY – Does the position align with your time and resources (everything in your life, not just work)?
  4. PROFIT – Is it profitable enough for you?
  5. PURPOSE – Is it aligned with your personal mission?

Cathy went through each point, with several tactics to help someone determine if a career move would fit all of the protocols. This can be applied to all kinds of changes, not just accepting a job from a new employer – strategizing for a change or increase in responsibilities at your current job, transitioning to be self-employed, getting a raise or more non-monetary benefits, excelling at the most important career and life goals instead of performing OK at a lot of things, etc.

She brought these points home with stories from personal experience and was chock-full of book recommendations to learn more about each topic. All of her basic points are covered in her article on her blog: The suggested resources are there, too. But the best part of the seminar was conversation not in the article, so let’s get to the highlights!

Diagnosing a people problem: Did you ever feel like you were playing a game with teams at work where you don’t know the rules? Do you struggle to figure out your co-workers’ motivations? Try using a matrix with three columns to guess what’s really behind their behavior. You know these people. It probably is easy to fill in these columns if you really think about it.


What if you don’t know what your dream is? Cathy suggests you think about that next step that will make you 10% happier. This approach can be much easier to wrap your mind around and plan for than making a radical life change. 

Look outside your firm/industry to find a mentor. Look for people you admire and are ahead of you in their career. Be persistent, ask those you admire out to coffee. Consider asking your employer to pay for an executive coach.

Do you feel undervalued at work? People may not understand all the things you actually do. Educate them by reporting the things you and your team have accomplished on a regular basis, along with what you learned from it and key takeaways for the future. You could also create a spreadsheet or matrix of the activities, what worked, what didn’t work, and also show tasks/initiatives that are in the pipeline.

Become more proactive than reactive. Reserve a block of time every day to focus on non-deadline creative projects. Cathy avoids checking email until 9 a.m. so she can devote the first hour of her day to this. Also find a kind of task that takes up a lot of time. Think about how you can implement a system that will make this task more efficient. Then implement it. Come up with a new task to tackle and repeat the process. Little changes can make a big difference!

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