2.02.2006

TIP: Career lessons from the top 10 newsmakers

via Monster - Every year, a few names and faces dominate the headlines and everyday conversation. Ten such newsmakers -- whether in politics, sports, business or entertainment -- made waves in their careers in 2005, for better or worse. Now it's time to discover the everyday career lessons you can learn from their successes and failures

Michael Brown

Disaster preparedness and response are serious matters, so it's surprising Brown's background wasn't vetted more thoroughly before he was appointed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2003. His glaring lack of experience in emergency management became evident in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Under fire for his agency's slow response, Brown tried to blame state and local officials as well as the residents who didn't evacuate -- many of whom were too poor or frail to flee -- for the unfolding disaster. Two weeks after the storm hit in late August 2005, the year's poster boy for the bad fit resigned.

Your Lesson: Make sure the candidate you select for a critical position is battle-tested.

Mariah Carey

Carey has a stunning voice and was the best-selling female artist of the '90s. But even with such assets, she hit a career slump in 2001 when she made Glitter, one of the most critically panned movies ever, and suffered a well-publicized emotional breakdown. The losing streak continued with the movie's soundtrack album. Carey's 2003 follow-up, which, like its predecessor, featured a new, whispery singing style, didn't exactly set the charts on fire, either. All that changed when "The Emancipation of Mimi," heralded at its April 2005 release as "the return of The Voice," went quadruple platinum and netted Carey a bevy of awards.

Your Lesson: For career success, stick with your strengths...

Judith Miller

The New York Times has seen its share of scandal in the last few years (Remember Jayson Blair?), and 2005 was no exception. This summer, veteran Times reporter Miller chose to spend 85 days in jail rather than testify about her conversations with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, in a CIA leak investigation. After Miller relented and was released, the Times blamed her for running with later-discredited information before the Iraq war that alleged Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Amid infighting and scandal, Miller retired in November. In a recent interview with the BBC, Miller gave her side of the story: "The intelligence information that I was accurately reporting was wrong. I guess if your sources are wrong, you're going to be wrong." Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd, who called Miller a "woman of mass destruction" in her column, responded during a Radar interview: "Just because your sources tell you something, you don't put it in the paper."

Your Lesson: To ensure your credibility at work, double-check your information...

Terrell Owens

Since the beginning of his NFL career, Owens has been known for his antics both on and off the field. The latest debacle came about when he publicly chastised both the Philadelphia Eagles organization and quarterback Donovan McNabb. This was the last straw for the team, who suspended TO for the remainder of the season and will not be re-signing him next year. Owens may be one of the best wide receivers today, but his egotistical behavior has cost him millions of dollars -- not to mention the goodwill of many fans. Recently, Owens apologized to his fans and teammates in a public statement and said, "It really hurts me not to be part of the team anymore. I feel really bad...my strength is sometimes my greatest weakness."

Your Lesson: If you can't work well with others, it may be hard to find work.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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