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Candidate Help & Advice

The “Tarzan Principle” for Career Advancement

Employed photo from Shutterstock

Before most readers of this blog were in diapers, non-caped super heroes ruled Saturday morning children’s television. One of them, Tarzan, was a staple of my childhood entertainment. Little did I know, while watching this fantasy story of a child who grew up in a primitive jungle and was raised by apes, that I was learning valuable life lessons that I would apply throughout my lifetime.

Besides being able to communicate with animals, which I now believe is definitely possible, Tarzan was a master at swinging through the trees utilizing long vines that draped downward. If he had failed to follow one fundamental rule of locomotion, he would have fallen and been severely injured… or even died. This Tarzan Principle, which I practiced throughout my career, appears today to me to be absent from many job seeker cartoon educations:

Don’t let go of the current vine until you have a firm grasp of the next one.

So, what in the heck am I actually talking about, you ask?

Well, my point is that I encounter a lot of people who make painful strategic career errors because they fail to grasp their next job before they let go of their last job… or have it ripped from their bloody hands.

Every week, I meet numerous unemployed job seekers. Many protest that their situation was none of their doing. Others claim they were given no hints or warnings. And others say they chose to resign in order to devote full time effort to finding a better job because their last one stunk. Regardless, each of these job seekers failed (actively or passively) to follow the Tarzan Principle.

While they have not literally fallen out of a tree and they have no physical injuries, they have (in most cases) sustained a meaningful career setback. The day they left their last jobs, their current and future marketability was reduced.

Which brings me to the point of sharing The Tarzan Principle with you….

It is critical in the 21st century that you manage your career, not just react when bad things happen. Fears must be faced and overcome.

And, the flip side is empowerment. You have the ability to be proactive, to seek out and find a better career opportunity, whether you love your job or you hate it. Whether you love your industry or you hate it. Whether you love your occupation or you hate it.

In my last post, I challenged you to “begin today to create a more rewarding career that fully utilizes your unique talents.”

You can do it. I know you can. Go for it!