How A Little Career Paranoia Pays Off Brilliantly
The news wasn't good. A friend of mine was calling to say that she’d just gotten the axe. Six months earlier, she’d taken a great new job in Chicago, a job she thought would be a professional game changer for her, and now it was over. That afternoon, she’d been summoned up to HR and told that her boss no longer believed she was a good fit for the position. Related: 7 Ways To Actively Manage Your Career “I never saw it coming,” she told me. The funny thing is, I had seen it coming. I’d even tried to suggest to my friend at times that something not-so-good seemed to be going on in her workplace and that she might be in jeopardy. But she’d assured me everything was fine. Why had I managed to foresee her firing but she hadn’t? Because I’m paranoid. In recent conversations, my friend had mentioned she’d been given the cold shoulder by her boss a couple of times and that once she’d been left out of a key meeting. While my friend had assumed they were minor bumps, not worth fretting about, alarm bells had gone off in my head. Throughout my professional life, I’ve tended to fixate on certain events and behaviors and let them gnaw at me a little. You may be feeling sorry for me at this point, but please don’t. As I look back at my career in the magazine business, including fourteen fabulous years running the number one women’s magazine in the world, I see that my paranoia served me extremely well. It often led me to pick up on important warning signals and then take appropriate action. Sometimes my paranoia even resulted in great new opportunities. At the very least, it helped me escape some dangerous situations with only a few singe marks on my butt.