WorkWise BlogTip: Look at unexpected detours as mandatory opportunities

10/05/2013 8:09 PM

10/05/2013 8:14 PM


Dave Kastner ( was a junior executive in his mid-twenties at a large auto parts manufacturer known for frequent layoffs. One day, a co-worker who’d lost his job a day or two before seemed to be on the road to recovery.

“He was still at the company,” Kastner emails, “so he must have had some time to adjust.”

Nonetheless, that didn’t prepare Kastner for what the man had to say. He didn’t dump on their boss, the company, the industry or anything else. Also a junior executive, he called his situation “a mandatory opportunity.”

Kastner comments that he “loved this phrase then and still quote(s) it often to people/myself when the occasion arises.” That inspiration has lasted for 30 years.

How about using THAT to get yourself motivated every day? Get up thinking about the day as an opportunity to take control over your work life. Think about it again when you’re brushing your teeth, sitting down at your computer, meeting other people wherever you go. Consider being let go a banana peel you slipped on, which increased your operating speed for a moment and headed you in a new direction. Turning “opportunity” into a mantra will make you more likely to find one.

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