October 1, 2015 is National Homemade Cookies Day. Besides starting with the letter C, what in the name of sweet chocolate do careers and cookies have in common? I believe what we do to earn a living can bring us as much joy and delight as the taste, smell and sight of a homemade cookie.
GIFTS & EXCHANGES
Have you ever attended a cookie exchange? Cookie swaps are very popular, especially during the winter holidays. When you walk into the event, the smells of sugar, vanilla, and chocolate scent the air.
Guests bring enough cookies for the total number of invited guests, extras for samples and copies of the cookie recipe. The host hands out containers (brand new paint buckets are my favorite) and everyone fills their vessels with the cookies on display.
You can keep the cookies for your family or give them as gifts.
The emphasis is on exchanging or swapping. Exchanging cookies, recipes and fellowship.
Careers are exchanges too. Exchanging time, talent, and skills.
We bring our “gifts” to work and exchange our energy for money. Sometimes we swap our energy for knowledge or experience.
At times in my career, I found myself in distress when I lost the emphasis on exchanging and remembering to use my gifts wisely.
Becoming too invested and with escalating commitment to the work or company, I ignored work-life balance, my health, my ability to make life-enhancing choices and veered off my dream career path.
Now I regularly remind myself:
- it is okay to save some energy for myself and stop exchanging an overabundance of energy on a job.
- it is okay to let go of the investment (time, resources, effort, pride) when it no longer meets my needs and it’s time to change direction.
- it is okay that a position not be long-term when it strays off my career path’s focus.
- it is okay to view money as my servant, not my life force, life’s blood, or divine master.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal and sugar cookies are classics. People light up when they see and smell them. Their familiarity is comforting.
Classic flavors are just plain good and stand the test of time. Savoring a warm cookie, we can feel that all is right with the world.
However, even classic cookies get stale.
We can be good, even great at what we do, yet in every career path, there are times to step outside our comfort zone. Be a smart cookie and try something different, learn something new.
The top professionals and producers in their fields are constantly learning. Continually updating and refreshing their skills. I’ve met some of the finest salespeople who take basic training annually. The goal? Come away with at least one technique they have forgotten to use and commit to taking action with it.
I was in the staffing industry for 18 years and constantly “repurposed” myself. Holding various positions and learning new skills kept me fresh and helped me uncover what I loved to do, which made me more effective.
Have you heard “cookie-cutter employees = cookie-cutter solutions?”
Taking refresher courses, new skill training and joining groups that impart fresh viewpoints and perspectives helps prevent a “cookie-cutter” staleness.
Have you worked with a male or female “tough cookie?”
I don’t think the word “cookie” is gender specific. I have heard many employees say about supervisors and managers, “Boy, he is one tough cookie!” And there is the story of the “Gingerbread Boy.”
People earned the title in one of the following ways because they were:
- strong enough to deal with difficult situations.
- an athlete demonstrating endurance.
- rarely showing emotion and not easily hurt by people’s actions or words.
- hardened and very strong-willed.
- well, um, just plain difficult to work with.
I’ve admired and respected a few tough cookies. Thinking there was something to be learned from their competence, they were icing on my career path.
However, when a tough cookie stops respecting me, I feel like I am not being heard, and their behavior becomes “my way, or the highway,” I will choose the highway every time.
If I can’t get to the highway soon enough, like a tray of tough baked cookies, I avoid them. Unless it is late afternoon, I am hungry and nothing else is around. Then I’ll dunk them in coffee until palatable.
That my friends, is how I perceive the cookie crumbles.
© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved
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