Episode 8 – Marc gives case studies on how making things up, and panicking about them, is always worse than asking for the truth.
In this episode, Marc shares the chapter, “Do You Suffer from MSU Disorder? The Grave Temptation to Make Stuff Up,” from his upcoming book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide to the Second Half of Life.
[1:44] Bill writes for a major financial company. He said his dream job is to write for The Economist. How did he know? What did he know about the company? All he knew was the content they produced. He was making stuff up, to fill in the blanks of his knowledge.
[3:30] Judith Glaser says, “The stories we make up have significant impact on our careers.” MSU can cause you to go after jobs that would make you miserable, or prevent you from pursuing a great job, out of fear. It can cause people to lose confidence in you, if you present as fact things you have just assumed to be true.
[4:28] It’s perfectly human to MSU, when the information is not there, but when it comes to your career, don’t do it! We cause ourselves pain by ‘awfulizing’ situations.
[5:03] Rhoda, a former CEO, had applied for a job as a COO of a national association. She was excited about the job, and felt like the feeling was mutual. When she didn’t hear back, though, she looked at their website and saw something she misunderstood, and began to panic. Marc suggested she call the company. When she did, she got the facts.
[6:13] Marcos was in a long negotiation with a prospective employer. Every question Marcos had took a long time to get resolution. Every time, his anxiety increased. He was in a panic. Marc encouraged him to call the recruiter (who had been absent with a very ill mother). Eventually Marcos did get the job.
[7:24] Susan started a new job with a major drug company, and knocked the ball out of the park. They loved her. But when her division announced a 200 headcount reduction, she went into panic mode. One day later, she learned she was to lead a highly-prized project. She had ignored every sign that she was highly-valued. She just MSU.
[8:17] Sally works from home. She meets with her boss to show him her activities, and he criticizes the list abusively. This has been their pattern for years. Marc suggested that the next time, she go without a list. Her boss had not asked for one. Although she MSU and became fearful beforehand, he took notes on her activities, without a problem.
[10:48] Take a mental bookmark of all the times you have panicked about something, and it turned out you were wrong. Think back to all the times you have awfulized something. Someone didn’t call within a given window that you made up, and you assumed something terrible had happened, or was about to happen, that was false.
[11:41] The best thing to do is to realize that you don’t know what’s happening. Make reasonable efforts to get answers, and breathe through the moment. You don’t know, and that’s OK.
[12:08] Stop drop, and roll. Don’t panic. Mary has a boss who is rude on the phone. She let her boss’ call go to voicemail while she was in a meeting, then texted to see how she could help her. It was simply to let her know that her boss was on her way.
[14:09] Manage communications. Nancy’s boss said she was not easy to work for. Nancy dreamed up awful situations that caused her to panic. She avoided her boss. Marc suggested having a weekly planning meeting. It turned out her boss was just moody.
[16:48] Describe situations where you made stuff up. Write out the story you dreamed up. How did it compare to the facts? Have you tried to create a stop, drop, and roll process? I now find myself catching myself when I start to MSU!
Mentioned in This Episode:
Contact Marc, and ask questions at: Careerpivot.com/contact-me
Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide to the Second Half of Life, by Marc Miller, available in early 2017
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