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What’s Your Best Career Mistake?

What’s Your Best Career Mistake?

Last week, contributors and influencers on LinkedIn discussed their “best mistakes” or cringe-worthy moments that changed their careers.

Naturally, several people wrote about how getting fired was their best mistake, including Nicholas Thompson, the editor of NewYorker.com, and Wharton professor and author Jonah Berger. And overall, the series is definitely worth a read.

One story that stands out to us is from Vivian Schiller, SVP and chief digital officer of NBC News. She talks about forgetting about having a five-year plan has been the best mistake she’s made:

"Since I was not on a proven course, it was never clear how one job would lead to the next. But choosing my trajectory one crossroad at a time allowed me to enjoy both sides of the media business, and I collected eclectic skill sets that prepared me for unanticipated opportunities.

Looking back, I realized I had a plan all along:

  • Do something that has a meaningful impact on the lives of others, and
  • Work at a company or organization that I believe in; where I believe in the culture and the management.

I may have seemed to weave between jobs on different sides of the industry, but what I’ve walked away with is a 360-degree view of media. Having no set roadmap gave me a view in every direction. And I truly believe that success doesn't come with a set plan. It comes with patience, a little luck, and trusting yourself to choose the opportunities that are right -- for you."

For me, I think my best mistake happened when I had just turned 23 and accepted a job. However, I naively thought that the work I would get to do (which was great) would make up for the bad feelings I had about the company culture and environment. It didn’t, but it taught me to listen to my instincts when considering a new position and highlighted the importance of a good company culture and fit.

By Kimberly Maul

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