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What Star Wars Teaches Us About Career Management

What Star Wars Teaches Us About Career Management

Be ready to try something radical and different with your career choices.

The diminutive R2-D2 received good advice from C-3PO: Always allow your boss or most important customer to beat you at golf

The diminutive R2-D2 received good advice from C-3PO: Always allow your boss or most important customer to beat you at golf

6. "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

File Under: Retirement Strategies; Succession Planning
Star Wars Moment: And aged Obi-Wan Kenobi allows himself to be struck down by his former apprentice Darth Vader, who chastises Kenobi: "Your powers are weak, old man."
Real-World Lesson: Sometimes "more seasoned" and "longer tenured" employees will be asked to "take one for the team." How graceful will your exit be?

7. "Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans!" - Darth Vader

File Under: Project Management; Risk Management
Star Wars Moment: Rebels are able to acquire a secret set plans to the Empire's Death Star, and eventually exploit a weakness and destroy the moon-size battle station.
Real-World Lesson: If you've got to nail "The Big Project," think carefully about the worst, most gaping vulnerability in the project. And don't, under any circumstances, allow that vulnerability to leak out onto, say, the Internet.

8. "But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression-the Dark Side of the Force are they." - Yoda

File Under: Training and Development; Networking
Star Wars Moment: Yoda sagely instructs Luke Skywalker during his training on Dagobah, with guidance such as: "Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say.... You must unlearn what you have learned." Skywalker says that he'll try. "No!" says Yoda. "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."
Real-World Lesson: There's a wealth of value for you in listening to the wisdom of another, older employee's experiences-especially if that colleague has been mentoring others for 800 years. (Yoda wisdom for future Madoffs: "If once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny.")

9. "It's not fair." - Han Solo

File Under: Skills Development
Star Wars Moment:
In Episode V, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO are thwarted as they try to get away from the Empire (again) as the Millennium Falcon fails to make the jump to light speed. Damn hyperdrive! Solo makes a bold move and gets creative about hiding out from the Empire.
Real-World Lesson: Technology sometimes fails us when we need it the most. Also, be ready to try something radical and different with your career choices.

10. "You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It's your choice." - Luke Skywalker

File Under: Networking
Star Wars Moment: As our heroes are about to be pushed into the digestive tract of the all-powerful Sarlacc in Episode VI, Luke instructs Han Solo to stick close to Chewbacca and Lando because, as Luke says, "I've taken care of everything."
Real-World Lesson: If there's a rising star in your company and he gives advice or takes you under his wing, you'd better oblige him. (In other words: Stay close to the guy who's got the "light saber" in the company.)

11. "I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time, you will call me master." - The Emperor (a.k.a. Dark Lord of the Sith, a.k.a. Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious)

File Under: Employer Selection; Industry Switch; Networking
Star Wars Moment: In Episode VI, during a verbal spat with confused and proud-papa Darth Vader looking on, The Emperor derides Luke Skywalker, claiming that his biggest weakest is his "faith" in his Rebel Alliance friends, and that Skywalker is foolish for not joining the Dark Side.
Real-World Lesson: If you have trust in your present employer's future strategy and coworkers' competence, don't let a rival employer sway you into joining his organization by using overconfident FUD.

12. "Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure." - C-3PO

File Under: Risk Management
Star Wars Moment: At the beginning of Episode IV, storm troopers blast through the door of Princess Leia's starship and come charging in. The first ones through the door are killed by Princess Leia's loyal guards.
Real-World Lesson: There are times when it's a good strategy to be a "fast-follower" rather than the first one to jump to a new or risky assignment.

13. "I think she kinda likes me." - Luke Skywalker

File Under: Relationship Building; Office Politics
Star Wars Moment: During the Star Wars saga, siblings Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia share several confusing moments and kisses, as a bewildered Han Solo usually looks on.
Real-World Lesson: Working closely with family members can be confusing at times and emotionally difficult (especially when your twin sister looks that good).

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