This book had been brewing in my head for a long time before I really knew it. I had seen many young professionals come into my firm over the years, some with great talent for the profession and others with less. All, however, had lots of enthusiasm for the challenge. It was an enthusiasm born of several sources, but a common denominator for all was the element of innocence. Few had any real idea of how the inside of a professional office looked or felt, let alone how it functioned. Their eagerness to contribute was always infectious, and I was consistently delighted to see them attack their first tasks.
Jump ahead five years, and the picture was predictably different. The innocence was gone, usually replaced by a hard-won maturity and self-confidence. But for many, the road had been rugged and success came slowly–slower than it needed to, I began to believe. Many, for example, had been slowed considerably as they encountered the pressures of their new life, not understanding why things like deadlines and scheduling conflicts occurred as they did. Others had been confused by process issues, for they lacked an appreciation for the reasons things were done as they were. And some, having no previous business experience, were intimidated by their entrepreneurial responsibilities.
Watching these careers develop–however they evolved–caused me to wonder if there might be a way to streamline the start-up process so that beginning professionals could be more effective earlier. I came to believe that if such a way existed, it could serve to help all of them–those with great talent and those of more modest abilities–enter the track at a faster pace. If they felt knowledgeable and comfortable about their new environment earlier, wouldn’t this help them to see the opportunities available to them earlier as well? Wouldn’t it help all of them, regardless of ability, to perform at a higher level?
This book is the result of those thoughts. I found that the majority of it was written in a surprisingly short time, probably confirming that I had unconsciously been processing this material for a very long time. There were several times when I thought about throwing in the towel and I would reread a passage or two and be inspired. Later on, many young friends like Cathy Kennington, Jeremy Evard and Catherine Wietholter Evard kept me on task and focused. I truly came to believe that nothing like this book was available to help young professionals begin the process of managing their careers, and that having it could be quite valuable to many. So here it is.
Writing Professional Success: How to Thrive in the Professional World has meant a great deal to me, and I sincerely hope it provides you with some valuable knowledge and tools to help you manage your career and, more importantly, enhance to quality of your life.