This Could Have Been Me

That Could Have Been Me

You hear commotion. People are gathering around Mary, one of your colleagues. You go over to find out what’s going on.

People are congratulating Mary on her promotion. The promotion has gained Mary a significant increase in her base salary and a higher level for her annual bonus. You congratulate Mary and return to your workspace. Then you think that could have been me.

Mary and you joined the company as new college graduate hires 3 years ago. Both of you have been solid performers. Until now, your careers seemed to be advancing at the same pace.

You go over to Mary and offer to take her to lunch as a gesture of congratulations. Mary accepts your offer.

At lunch, you ask Mary how she did it (earn the promotion). Mary tells her story.

I took an assessment offered by the company to help me discover my strengths. After understanding my strengths, I decided to determine how I could use this discovery to advance my career. So, I:

  •  Researched the employment marketplace to identify career possibilities and opportunities that matched my strengths.
  • Reviewed position descriptions for positions on our company’s career lattices
  • Applied keywords related to my strengths to search positions posted on several job sites such as Indeed,, CareerBuilder, and ZipRecruiter.
  • Viewed job postings listed on websites of other companies in our industry.
  • Used what I discovered to develop a target position description, which is just like the product concepts that a representative of our company’s product development organization covered during an employee lunch & learn session organized by human resources.
  • Developed a prototype of what I wanted to be. I called the prototype Mary 2.0.
  • Created a personal development plan to develop Mary 2.0.
  • Executed my personal development plan.

Mary realized that she was in The Business of Mary.

She knew her personal product (her strengths, skills, and capabilities) was the foundation for The Business of Mary. Mary applied the Business Product Development Process to develop herself.

Mary is a real story about a person I coached. She went beyond possibilities to develop and execute her career plan. She tripled her compensation.

Applying Step 2, Research, of the Personal Product Development Process can also benefit you by broadening your view of the employment marketplace. Through Research, you can:

  • Identify new and emerging techniques and competencies that may not be used right now by your company. To maintain its competitive position, your company may hire individuals in the future who are skilled in these techniques and competencies instead of training current employees. These new employees, your competitors, will fill positions that could have been promotions for you.
  • Discover career opportunities or options to develop your personal product to fit a broader market (potential employers) who will pay a higher price (compensation) for your product than your current employer.

Did this week’s article generate Aha Moments?

Have you acted on the results of assessments of your strengths and skills to advance your career?

Did the article provide ideas for addressing your career opportunities, challenges, and situations?

Have you thought about times that you took a business management approach to address a career opportunity, situation, or challenge?

 If you did not, do you wish you had?

I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions.

Your career is your most important economic asset.

Next week’s article will cover Concept, the third step in the Personal Product Development Process.

Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management and information resource designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their most important economic asset—their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.