#FocusFriday: “Autopilot” Has No Place in a Successful Career

Alexander Charles
Xerox public relations coordinator, Corporate Public Relations

Author David McCullough once said: real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.  

Uta Werner, Xerox’s chief strategy officer agrees.  When it comes to a successful career, once you find what you like doing, you will naturally tackle your career at full blast and with zeal. I learned Uta’s take recently, when she was the featured guest at Yale’s Morse College Master’s Tea sponsored by the Yale’s Smart Women Securities, a not-for profit organization focused on investment education for undergraduate women.  

Although the talk’s purpose was to discuss: how to have a successful career, how to become successful women leaders and corporate strategy as a potential career; Uta’s tips on how to focus and get the most out of your career were universal.

Before the talk, I found out one student with a hectic job interview schedule hoped to learn a little more about what lies outside the four walls of her school.   I hoped Uta’s perspective, which includes more than twenty years of experience as an advisor to large global corporations and investment management professionals could help her.

Doing your job well: Uta pointed out that one should learn the language of a job and be willing to relinquish some of your old verbiage.  Jokingly, she said words like “epic fail” and “sick” would need to be dropped from the vernacular.  In business, she pointed out; each function has a different language. To be effective, you have to be able to adapt and learn the language.

Finding the right job:  Uta said it’s important to uncover what you like doing.  If you don’t like what you’re doing, you are simply wasting time. Life is too short.  Professionals need to be fully engaged and committed to doing an outstanding job.   Truly successful careers don’t include an autopilot. 

I hope the young woman left the talk with some valuable food for thought.  I know I did.

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