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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 215 - If There's a Chance You Can do it, Say Yes

I’ve gotten a long way in life because on several important occasions I said yes to an offer of work I wasn’t necessarily prepared for.

We often hear that we have to get training, a degree, have experience, and so forth before we can get a job. My experience is exactly the opposite. I got the job then got the experience. Most of them were chance opportunities that I took the moment they were offered.

What would it take to become controller of a $2 million company? A degree in finance? Years of experience? CPA? Maybe, but for me it took being in the right place at the right time when the previous controller left. My previous job at the company? Editor.

What would it take to become Chief Financial Officer of a $6 million public company? All of the above plus SEC experience. By that time I had some of the above, namely two years of experience. All I knew about the SEC was that it had some regulatory powers.

I became editor of a weekly newspaper chain with six months experience as a newspaper reporter.

Why did all of this happen? Because I said yes to the offer when it came. Could I have worried about the experience I didn’t have? Been afraid the job would be too much? Of course.

I didn’t because I learned very early on that the purpose of education and training is above all to teach you how to find out what you don’t already know. To learn the CFO job in a few weeks required me to look at what the previous occupant of the job had done and make sure I did it too. It required listening and observation and the confidence that the needed information would be there when I needed it.

Nobody knows everything. Nobody is ready for the next job. Nobody has the experience to do the next job up. You get that experience by doing the job. This applies to everyone, up to and including CEOs of major corporations.

I just watched the Undercover Boss show on ABC tonight. The CEO on the show had been with the company, a waste processing operation, for under a year and came from a completely different industry. On the show he saw much of the company’s operations for the first time. He was getting his experience in that business as he worked.

The next time someone offers you a job you are not quite ready for or commissionsyou are not quite confident you can carry out, stretch a bit and take it. You will surprised by how much you CAN do.

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