Your Career is a House


Catherine KresgeSo, a friend of mine had been harping at me for a while to check out HGTV. Like I needed more reality television in my life. Well…she may have created a monster. Kinda. Obsessed.

As much as I love fantasizing about buying, remodeling and flipping property, this knowledge has no real benefit in my daily life (as much as I love knowing what a backsplash, en suite, and an open concept kitchen are).

But truthfully, there are a lot of lessons about our careers to be gleaned that I am happy to share and spare you from spending countless hours watching “Property Brothers” reruns. Or, go ahead and watch them anyway. (But don’t forget that scripted TV is where it’s at!!)

Your Career is a House

Your career can sometimes feel like an amorphous, intangible concept. Thinking of it as a structure and compartmentalizing it can help make it feel like a project that can be tackled.

1) Know that everything can be remodeled.

a)     If the space isn’t functioning well or inspiring a good feeling, change it!

If your career isn’t working for you, it’s time to consider making adjustments to get it moving in the right direction. You are never stuck just dealing with it.

b)     It’s going to take some elbow grease.

Tearing a house down to its studs doesn’t happen magically. There is sweat and the use of muscles involved. Expect to put the work in.

2) Look at the space inside and out and do an honest assessment.

a)     Is the structure sound and the foundation level?

In other words, do you have the basic knowledge necessary to pursue your career or do you need to go back to basics and take foundational classes and learn from experts? There’s no point in dolling up the place if it’s just going to crumble to the ground.

b)     Does it just need a few cosmetic fixes, or a complete gut job?

Maybe you need a new audition outfit, a new set of headshots, or a re-edit of your reel. Or maybe you need to reconsider your entire strategy and priorities. Time to keep it real with yourself and ask the tough questions.

3) Prioritize projects.

a)     Is a full remodel really necessary? Is it practical?

Assess your resources (how much mu-la do you have to put toward your career needs?) Pinpoint what changes or improvements you can make that will have the greatest impact. As fancy as new lighting fixtures can be, sometimes it’s the plumbing that needs an upgrade. The chandelier can wait until the important stuff gets handled. Will taking that expensive “imaging class” really make the difference, or will investing in an ongoing on-camera class have more bang for the buck?

b)     Move room to room, and finish each job.

Are you remodeling the kitchen? Then make a detailed plan, stay flexible for unexpected issues that arise, and push forward with focus until you are cooking in your chef’s paradise. Are you shooting a new reel? Then gather all material, schedule to shoot additional footage (if needed), hire an editor (if needed), and upload as needed! Try to stick with one task until completed because it is sooooo easy to get side-tracked!

4) Get the right kind of help.

a)     Never tiled a backsplash before? Then find an expert!

Now is not the time to reinvent the wheel. Find someone who has dealt with your challenge before and find out how they succeeded. Get guidance from trusted sources and experts in their field. Maybe don’t use your buddy from work who just got a camera to shoot your next set of headshots. Go to the pros. They’re professionals for a reason…seasoned, experienced, trustworthy, trained, talented, and proven. Do it right the first time and save yourself the headache and cost of re-do’s later.

b)     Use the right tools.

Step away from the putty knife and sander if you don’t know what you’re doing! If you’re creating a new website, find one that is user-friendly and well-designed. If you’re printing headshots, skip the drug store photo kiosk and opt for a professional printer.

5) Maintenance and upkeep…the work never ends.

a)     Celebrate! Your kitchen looks like a dream, the flooring is immaculate and your master bathroom looks like it stepped out of the pages of Architectural Digest. Your headshots look like you at your most castable, your demo reel is chalk-full of compelling moments, your new improv skills have you auditioning like a beast, and your website looks bangin’! Hooray!

b)     Unlike an episode of “Property Brothers” or “Love it or List it”, the remodel of your career doesn’t end with the credits. Get ready to maintain and build upon the fantastic work you’ve put in. Home ownership and career ownership both require diligence and ongoing effort. Don’t get discouraged when it’s time yet again to take stock of where you are and do some renovations. Anticipate and plan for it. Every couple of years, new headshots and another reel upgrade. The News Feed on your website, updated frequently. Refresher classes, and classes in new techniques are regularly on the calendar. There are plenty of ways to refresh, re-energize and recommit to building your dream house, I mean, career. And don’t forget to step back and admire your creation, even if it’s a work in progress.