Skills + Performance = Opportunities: Opportunities

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In this short series on a good career management framework for Cubicle Warriors, we’ve looked at skills as well as performance. In the end, all that work needs to translate to opportunity.

Opportunity, though, comes from many places. The key points about opportunity for a Cubicle Warrior are:

Know yourself

If you have been building your skills and performing on your work, you will be presented opportunities. Which opportunity to select of many that are offered?

Knowing yourself means that when an opportunity is presented, you will know whether it makes sense to pursue it.

If, for example, in your last position you discovered that you work much better in an environment of more face-to-face interactions rather than isolated in a cube (or the other way around), you need to know about the environment you will be working in with the next opportunity. If face-to-face is important, selecting an opportunity that has lots of isolation isn’t the right one for you.

Be aware

Opportunities are a little bit like fishing. You throw your bait (performance and skills) out there into the water and you either wait for the cork to start moving around or wait for the tell-tale signs of a fish playing with your bait.

Opportunities won’t necessarily make themselves obvious to you. You will have to look at what is being said and then follow through to see if there is an opportunity there.

Make a decision

People who provide help to you willingly do so. But they also expect that if something is offered that you make a decision about what is being offered. Especially in important job situations, time is a critical factor and if your potential benefactor has referred you to a hiring manager or recruiter, you need to quickly follow-up.

After all, your network is supporting you by putting their reputation on the line as well. To not honor that support through the proper work is really not acceptable.

So make a decision about the opportunity and either pursue it or turn it down. The worst thing you can do is procrastinate on an opportunity presented.


Once you make a decision pursue an opportunity, give it everything you have to translate an opportunity into work. Have no regrets and know that sometimes you need enough faith that jumping off the cliff will give you the ability to fly. All opportunities carry risk. Assess the risk and then go!

Opportunities follow a little “attraction theory” in that if you start looking for them, they will show up. Know yourself and your capabilities and start pursuing the ones that make sense to you.

  • ScotRight, yes! There is a great deal of value in career coaching if you can’t seem to figure things out on your own, especially on what “personal brand” you should be fine-tuning and, eventually, pushing. Sometimes you need a person who doesn’t know you to assess the facts and help you arrive at insights you may not have realized. For those among us who are very self-aware, this task is easier. But self awareness takes a lot of time and introspection. That’s why I advocate the use of a “career journal” that allows you to write down accomplishments, observations, and personal insights periodically. That requires discipline, for sure, but it might also help lead you to your own answers.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    Rick One of the more interesting things happening in the blogosphere right now is the Personal Brand phenomenon — and at its core, requires you to already know your strengths, areas to avoid, and accomplishments that represent your brand. Knowing yourself has never been more important — but it is a struggle to figure that out for yourself. We’re just too close to what we do and how we do it to know what our strengths are and what works for us.

    Others coaching us through this is a good thing to do.

  • Nice stuff in this post Scot! Managing and directing your career requires — no, demands – that you keep taking stock of yourself to uncover what makes you comfortable and what makes your blood pressure rise. The more you know yourself, the easier it is to pursue a job opportunity, or punt on it. I also agree with your point about respecting your network: If you’re presented with an opportunity that you believe doesn’t work for you, let your networking contact know right away. You never know when that same person will let you know of a better opp later on. Snub him the first time and there won’t be a second.

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