It’s Time to Get Bodacious About Your Career

Let me ask you this question: Do you believe that if you work hard at the office and you get along well with your co-workers and your boss, you’ll be rewarded with more pay and promotions?

Yeah, you probably do. Many years ago, I know I believed that..

Fresh out of college with my engineering degree, I took a job at America Online as a $8 an hour customer service rep (after deciding I didn’t want to be an engineer.) Little did I know, that I was about to embark on my own bodacious career.

AOL was a fledgling start-up company that exploded into a global Internet giant. During this massive growth, I performed my job well, had a positive attitude and kept getting promoted. After 10 years, I became the first head of Corporate Training for AOL, with over 12,000 employees!

I was a dedicated AOL employee who had “played by rules” (do a good job, be well- liked, and you will get promoted.) So you can imagine my reaction when I asked my boss to promote me to next level AOL, and he told me that I wasn’t “strategic enough” for the job. I wasn’t strategic enough? Huh?

I was stunned. In a short time he hired a man from outside AOL for the job. Just like that, my upwardly mobile career at AOL came to an end. After much soul searching, I decided to leave the company that I loved and continue my career another way. I was only 33.

During my soul searching I kept asking myself: “what went wrong?” I knew that I’d hit the glass ceiling, but there was something else. The truth was, I hadn’t played the career game with the right attitude. I realized that I needed to be bodacious!

Bodacious, is that a real word? It sure is and it became my personal rallying cry during my last years at AOL. When you look up bodacious in the dictionary you will find similar descriptors like bold, unmistakable, remarkable, and audacious. I’ve come up with my own definition of bodacious: The courage to be in charge of your life.

Being bodacious means having the courage to be in charge of your career. It means having the courage to examine your own behavior at work and determine what’s working and what’s not. It means having the courage to take risks in the workplace to be more effective. Sometimes it means having the courage to find a new job that’s more fulfilling and a better match.

You absolutely can have a bodacious career that’s personally meaningful and fulfilling. It starts with a decision to settle for nothing less. What will you decide? And, when?

Copyright (c) 2006 Mary Foley