Interview and key conceptThe greatest advice I gave as a government employee was always rooted in good common sense.  This may seem obvious, but it really does make a difference when you are looking to move up in your career.

My advice is straightforward and goes like this:

“What you do when you DON’T get the job is just as important as what you do when you get the job.”

In some cases, it can be even more important!

You see many people do not take defeat well and they show it in their attitude and actions after the big promotion.  They sour and make it known that they are unhappy.  Sometimes they even take it out on the person who may have received the job.  In some cases, this person does not even know what offense they have given but it is obvious they are not liked.  This very situation took place when I went to work in another City Department.

There was a woman in the department who had many years of experience and was not afraid to let everyone know she was far more capable and knowledgable than anyone else.  Now I pride myself on killing everyone with kindness and she was no different.  I was going to win her over while everyone watched.

It was not easy.  She felt entitled to the job I had left based on her background and experience.

When a colleague of mine retired, it opened a door for her to move up and she applied and secured the position.  Once at my level, she shared that the earlier process was unfair.  Since we were colleagues, it was fair game to give her some friendly coaching.

When I am not chosen for something I always go to the person who was chosen and tell them congratulations, and I am here to help if they need me.  What it tells the people watching is you have the emotional intelligence to handle defeat with charisma and grace.  These are the same characteristics needed to lead people.

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