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Career Management

Mini-MBA: Buzzwords, Clichés, and Business Terms

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I originally created this list for a seminar called "Non-clinical Careers for Physicians: Your Action Plan for the Future." The purpose was to introduce non-businesspeople to terms and concepts they might face while interviewing in a new, unfamiliar world. However, every career-changer or job candidate will benefit from a quick review of these concepts.

This is good stuff to know because it shows you're part of the in-crowd. Some of it is odd or ridiculous, but so is any foreign language. A physician who read this section said, "Hey, do they really talk this way in corporate America?

Yes, they do. They really do.

This is serious because it's important to know what's current. For example, you wouldn't want to be bragging about your 10-year-old Palm Pilot when everyone in the room is sporting a new iPhone 3G.

If you don't get a laugh or two in this section, I'll give you your money back . . .

24/7 - Around the clock (impressive). 24/7/365 - Around the clock every day of the year (even more impressive). Both expressions are used to mean "all the time."

30,000 Foot View - Synonym for overview or big picture. "Howard will give us a 30,000 foot view, then we'll drill down into details."

360° Review - A picture of you, usually made by compiling the results of a questionnaire completed by colleagues, creating an image of you as seen by people around you.
500-word Paragraph - Something no one, no matter how interested, will ever read. In business it's important to: 1) write like Ernest Hemingway (in short sentences using common words), 2) say your message in no more than 6-8 bullet points, and 3) confine your thoughts to one page. Adults today don't read, won't read, and can't read. See "KISS Principle."

Accomplishments/Achievements - The written record of your work "triples" and "home runs." Go to
www.careerlab.com/art_homeruns.htm /. Physicians go to www.physiciancareernetwork.com/pcn_homeruns.htm /.
Angry Unemployed - A dominating or overly-controlling person who has attacked others at work, made legions of enemies, and burned all his or her bridges for a career lifetime. Once unemployed, they find that no one returns their calls or offers assistance. Hence, their anger.
Archaeology - Going back into your past to discover clues to your future success, usually by being interviewed, through paper-and-pencil exercises, and standardized testing and assessment. Archaeology also involves uncovering your work "triples and home runs." See Accomplishments/Achievements.

At the End of the Day - When all is said and done.
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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.