Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Your career as a chess board

Look at your career as a chess board, not a dart board. In chess, you cannot win the game in one move. It takes multiple moves to achieve your objectives. It takes patience. You don’t control how long you must wait before you move again. Each move opens up new opportunities, some you don’t see until after you’ve landed on the next space. After you move, the game changes so you must be creative, nimble and flexible to adjust to the new environment. Sometimes, you need to go backwards before you can go forwards.

You may wish that your career was more like playing darts. See the bullseye, aim and throw. You have immediate feedback. If you don’t like your throw, you pick up another dart and throw again. Be careful if you treat your career like a dart. Your resume won’t look too good.

Think chess, not darts – and you’ll set yourself up to win the career game.

Category: Job/Internship Search, Tips for Students

2 Responses to Your career as a chess board

  1. Andy Chan says:

    The following 2 books are excellent for those in mid-career: Getting Unstuck, by my friend Tim Butler and Working Identity by Hermina Ibarra.

  2. Interested Observer says:

    Andy, I like this analogy. I’m wondering what you’d suggest for people who are well into their professional life but see their next move blocked or feel like they’ve made a backwards move. What kind of resources should they look to help them analyze what they’re doing, what changes have happened in their lives and field, and where they should be going?