It is inevitable that, after the death of an influential political figure, there will be a lot of commentary and talk. TV viewers can watch hours and hours of analysis about everything from his life and work to how many family members might have been around his bedside upon his death. Even Sarah Palin came out with a friendly, sympathetic statement.
A few lessons for careerists come to mind…
Soft Skills/Emotional Intelligence
What strikes me is the emphasis on Senator Kennedy’s ability to reach across the political aisle. Several commentators indicated that they believed the debate over healthcare reform might be much different had Senator Kennedy been able to be more intimately involved.
There is no doubt that the ability to communicate with all types of people from different ideologies and beliefs is a key “soft” skill that job seekers need to consider. Work environments are about relationships as much (if not more) than they are about “getting the job done.”
Quint Careers notes that the first and most important skill employers seek is the ability to communicate well. They say, “By far, the one skill mentioned most often by employers is the ability to listen, write, and speak effectively.” No doubt, this skill helped lead to Ted Kennedy’s long career and will impact his legacy.
Whether or not you are looking for a job, think about your role in your organization. Are you the person who can bring people together? Can you interpret and communicate despite differences? These are key skills to emphasize on your resume when you do look to move on. Don’t underestimate their importance.
Most students of modern American history can not help but associate Ted Kennedy’s name with the scandal of Chappaquiddick. The tragic incident in 1969 may have prevented Kennedy from being elected president, but his long career in the Senate since demonstrates that it is possible to overcome even the most horrible of circumstances. While most people will not have a scandal of these proportions nor the privilege Kennedy commanded that helped him overcome it, I think it is worth noting that even the most difficult circumstances may not necessarily fully define a career.
Some commentators mentioned that, while he was haunted by the tragedy, he re-focused his efforts on working in the Senate and determined that he would have an impact there. Some said he became one of the most influential and productive legislators of his time.
So, maybe it is a stretch to suggest that job seekers take heart that no negative circumstances need to totally define their future paths, but it is something to reflect on. What steps can you take to redefine your career road? How can you “drive your career bus” in a different direction? Where can you take control of your situation to alter where you will land? A lot is in your hands – probably more than you know.
photo by: huffstutterrobertl