Shifting Career Gears: Are you Ready for your Next Career Level?
October 11, 2017
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Shift Careers Gears Pt. 2. – “Never Let a Freshman Take Your Spot”

From the featured film "Love and Basketball"

Are you familiar with the  movie “Love and Basketball”? It’s one of my favorite romantic movies of all time.  The movie is about, you guessed it – love and basketball. In the movie, the girlfriend (played by Sanaa Lathan) has a really difficult time finding her place on the college team. Her position is filled with the star of the team. It seems impossible for her to get into the game. It appears she has a permanent spot on the bench. In addition, the coach is “picking” on her and pushing her harder than the other girls.  The star player tells her that she was just sloppy seconds because the original girl became pregnant, which forfeited her scholarship. Just cruel! One game, as the girlfriend rides the bench, the star athlete gets hurt. Who takes her place- you guessed it, the freshman. She perfoms so well that when the star recovers from her injury, the “freshman” continues to play.  The star athlete gives the freshman powerful advice “Never let a freshman take your spot”.

This is great advice in the workforce too. So many people become complacent with their positions and they forget to level up. They don’t adhere to the shifting career gears series. If you are not careful, the newly hired could be your boss in the next year. Here are 3  ways to avoid losing your spot to a freshman in the 4th quarter.

  1. Get excited about your workplace and position. Come to work happy and full of ideas that can drive company metrics. Find ways to interact with senior level managers and get involved on special projects. Dress the part again. Go out and purchase a few new pieces to spice up your work gear.  You want to take yourself back to how you felt your first day on the job. New hires shine brightly because current team members are complacent and dull. Don’t let this be you. Buff and polish yourself so that you have the same fresh glow.
  2.  Take initiative. New hires are joining your team? Train them. Take initiative to show leadership skills and assist newcomers on your team’s processes.  You will be able to hear what the newcomers bring to the table. You should know all areas of opportunities and threats with the new person aboard. In addition, you should create a one on one time to meet with key senior leaders that can assist in your elevation, when the time comes. You should have biweekly check-ins with your manager to determine your weak points and how you plan to resolve them. You will also be able to leverage training the new team member(s)  during performance review time.
  3.  Increase your skills. If you notice that newcomers have skills in areas that you lack, level up! Request for internal training, if possible. If not, seek external training so that you are not left behind. Take their skills as a threat – especially if you know their skills are greatly needed.

Kobe Bryant Action Portrait

It’s really important to understand that longevity does not secure your spot on the team. If you  become complacent with your work, it will not be rewarded. Instead, it will be viewed as laziness and you lack interest in climbing the corporate ladder. Don’t allow a freshman to take your promotions! Level up! Reset your perception in the office. Even when you think you’re working hard, work harder. Notice I never say to treat the newcomer bad and call them “sloppy seconds”. There is no need to conduct yourself unprofessionally. Be kind to them and remember how you felt when you first started your role. #youareworthmore than losing your spot to the newcomer on the team. #knowyourworth and reintroduce yourself to the organization. Stick a strong switch up game (career strategy), a wicked jump shot (action), and a slam dunk (results) on your #careerkeychain.

Click here to  schedule a career strategy today. Be sure to use “career20” to receive a 20% discount on all services. #careers #careeradvice #thecareersociery

Courtney N. Rhodes
Courtney N. Rhodes
Courtney Rhodes is a full time HR Professional, Career Coach, Mother, Wife and running enthusiast. Courtney has been writing for "On The Rhodes Again" and "The Career Society" since their inception. She empowers her community with knowledge about family and career opportunities.


  1. Tanya says:

    Great read! Funny how work and basketball totally coinside.

  2. Hey this is great! Great perspective and I love Love and Basketball, too!

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