Ready For The Truth?

The following is an abridged excerpt from Sally Hogshead’s book, published in September by Penguin, RADICAL CAREERING: 100 Truths to Jumpstart Your Job, Your Career, and Your Life, which lists 100 of what she calls “Radical Truths.”

Do you have a career worth loving?………….. Do you cringe at the idea of a mindless job spent shuffling papers and sneaking out at 4:59? Do you want joy and meaning from work? Do you want to kickstart momentum, attack bigger possibilities and get excited about Monday mornings?

If so, welcome. You’re among friends.

Think back to those times when you performed at your absolute best, when you blew past expectations and quite simply kicked ass. That’s when you were careering. You were taking action to become the most powerful, valuable, fulfilled version of yourself.

Careering isn’t about working harder or making more money. It’s the profound, and glorious, and terrifying, and absurdly difficult, but infinitely rewarding, process of transforming your current self into your ultimate self.

Careerists become the most valuable people in any company for a very simple reason: They live according to what’s possible, instead of being confined by what is.

Chapter 1: Deal With Reality

You always have the power to reinvent your career. But with that power comes a significant responsibility: being accountable for your own success.

RADICAL TRUTH #1: Welcome to the Age of Intensity.

At the office, our deadlines shorten, budgets shrink, expectations rise. At home, we spin plates and juggle priorities. We cram our lives into BlackBerries, iPods and TiVos. Is this stressful? Without question. That’s exactly what makes a career worth loving so essential. It’s because work demands so much of us that we must demand every bit as much in return.

RADICAL TRUTH #2: Revolution is the new status quo.

Change can make anyone feel anxious. Most people let that anxiety stop them. They opt for safety over brilliance, security over satisfaction. They cower under desks, hoping to avoid the grenades rolling by. But change is no longer the exception, it’s the rule. Time to break out a can of corporate whup-ass.

RADICAL TRUTH #3: The axle on the gravy train is broken.

Once upon a time, professionals traded their skills and time for their employer’s money and security. Well, that equation is out the window. And good riddance! No longer are you bound by formulaic promotions, or forced to rely upon corporate benevolence. If you’re not guaranteed the 4 percent raise, you’re also not locked into it. Never before has the individual wielded so much power.

RADICAL TRUTH #4: The traditional career path went out the window with gold retirement watches.

Gone are the red power ties and fat expense accounts. Buh-bye, tall skinny staffing pyramids. Give our best to Gordon Gekko and the three-martini lunch. In the Age of Intensity, you operate the levers of your success with your intellectual horsepower, attitude, personal brand and everything else you bring to the party. Now. Here. Today.

RADICAL TRUTH #5: Quality of work. Quality of life. Quality of compensation. Pick one.

Is your priority to be a star in your job? Or go home at 5 p.m.? Or have a wheelbarrow full of stock options? Once you prioritize, your job satisfaction depends on finding a company with the same priorities. If you’re dedicated to exceptional performance, but your com-pany is only dedicated to short-term profits, you and your company do not share the same goals. You’re an artisan in a widget factory.

RADICAL TRUTH #6: Break out the nunchucks and let the streetfighting begin!

Victories are no longer civilized affairs won in a stately boardroom. Today, success is won in the streets with your cunning and instinct. You have to roll up your sleeves. Are you willing to push harder, work faster and think smarter no matter what obstacles arise? Yes? Then get up off the floor, wipe your bloodied chin and get back in the fight.

RADICAL TRUTH #7: Darwin was wrong.

In chaotic times, everyone focuses on survival. But the fittest don’t just survive, they flourish. If you can thrive even in the craggiest environments, you won’t just overcome difficulty, you’ll succeed because of it.

RADICAL TRUTH #8: Work is hard.

It just is. As soon as you accept this, you can stop resisting, and start moving forward. The point isn’t to make your job easier, but to make it worth the effort.

RADICAL TRUTH #9: Forget what your business card says. You’re an entrepreneur.

In a world in which the average job tenure is 3.5 years, you can’t allow your company to point you in a direction anymore. (And, really, do you want it to?) It’s all up to you. Strap on the cajones and go.

RADICAL TRUTH #10: Avoid manufacturing buggy whips.

The buggy whip trade didn’t pay much attention to a careerist named Henry Ford and his horseless carriage—until they found themselves without a market. Are your ideas at risk of obsolescence?

RADICAL TRUTH #11: Transform or die.

A parable: The world’s fattest man weighed 800 pounds. Doctors said he had to lose weight. His life depended on becoming leaner and changing the way he did things. He didn’t. He was buried in a piano case. The End.

RADICAL TRUTH #12: Luck is for wimps.

Luck may or may not be on your side, but your actions are always within your control. Play like you’re not afraid to lose. (And feel free to cross your fingers, too.)

RADICAL TRUTH #13: Now is the ideal time to turbocharge your career.How to boost your long-term equity, market value, and self-worth? Become a smarter employee by finding an unexploited niche within your category or company. Build a stronger web of people to support you, inside your workplace and out. Attack undiscovered projects to gain prized exposure and knowledge. It’s in your hands.

Today, your career has to come from you. And therefore, it belongs to you.