Do You Have Career Blind Spots? An Interview with Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit is a good friend and a great career expert. She’s written several terrific career advice books and has just released her latest, Blind Spots: 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success.

In today’s post, Alexandra answers some of my questions:

Q. How did you come up with this idea for Blind Spots?

A. I decided to write Blind Spots because I was tired of reading silly theories and platitudes dispensed by business and career authors who sell their work by giving these myths credibility and by telling readers what they want to hear. I wanted to be honest with people about what will render them successful in today’s business world, not yesterday’s. I wanted something out there other than overly provocative advice that hasn’t worked for anyone I know, like quitting your job tomorrow and starting your own business the next day, or marching into your boss’ office and announcing that he should appreciate your individuality.

Q. Which of your “blind spots” do you think most affects Gen Yers, and how can they overcome it?

A. Without question, the myth that it’s best to climb the ladder as fast as possible. Gen Yers must understand that getting promoted year after year requires a near-constant vigilance as well as a laser-sharp focus on work –- often to the detriment of everything else in your life. In Blind Spots, we talk about why it’s best to enjoy your time as a middle manager or individual contributor and how you can really make the most of your working twenties without burning out or being set up to fail.

Q. You mention in your introduction that you would like to help people hone their positive traits like authenticity, perseverance and self-awareness. What would you suggest is the first step in accomplishing this, particularly for young professionals?

A. The first step is to recognize what you don’t know and where you can improve. A lot of what it takes to be successful is already a part of who you are, and with a little self-reflection and the course-correcting offered in Blind Spots, you absolutely have the power to cultivate the skills and attitude that will take you wherever you want to go.

Q. Myth #8 is focused on job security. What is the best thing someone might do to ensure that they don’t get laid off?

A. If word on the street says there will be layoffs, sniff out competitors who do similar work and are in better financial straits, pursue an internal move to a profitable department and nurture your relationships with senior executives.

Q. What is your best advice to young professionals who dream of entrepreneurship?

A. If you want to start a company, the motivation fueled by being bored with your work or hating your boss won’t be enough. You’ll have to think hard about the marketplace and the need for your product or service. Then, be prepared to work at a variety of tasks to bring it to fruition.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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