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Dribbling my future away in the NBA

Dear Office-Politics,

I work at the NBA. So naturally, people would think, wow working with the NBA, you get to see all these glitzy and glamorous things. But like every other company, it has its share of office politics.

I am a college graduate that’s currently working in the NBA Mailroom. I have been here for 3 years and still trying to get a job within the company that best suits my qualifications.

Unfortunately, due to an earlier incident in which i served the punishment (6 months probation) finding a position is a bit tough.

Recently, I was told the reasons why I havent gotten interviewed for positions even the ones that i knew i was qualified for, was because I was “applying too much”, that i wanted to leave the mailroom too eagerly”. Also recently a coworker of mine who really has had trouble with my dept just got promoted, when he was not qualified, with no degree or experience.

Now my question is, should i just quit? because obviously working hard for 3 years meant nothing and just trying to put your best foot forward meant nothing since people have a perception of you that you cant change. even with no job in the horizon should i just quit all together?

Thank you,

Dribbling my future away


dr. rick brandon
dr. marty seldman

Dear Dribbling my future away,

Answering your question is the straight forward part of our reply: don’t quit, but definitely search out your other options in the marketplace.

The reasons we advise against quitting now are:

1) It is easier to get a job when you have a job
2) You don’t know for certain that the perception of you can’t change
3) It is still not clear exactly what the perception of you is

If you can find out more information about how you are actually perceived and whether or not this is a hardened perception that can’t be changed it will help you in two ways.

If the perception can be changed it may be worthwhile to try since it might turn things around where you are or give you valuable, risk-free experience for the future. If the perception can’t be changed it helps with your decision and it will help you analyze what created the perception so you can avoid mistakes at your next job.

If we have convinced you to dig deeper, then what is the best way to do that? The reasons they have given you, such as “applying too much” sound bogus. As we discuss in Survival of the Savvy it is important for everyone to know the real “buzz” about themselves even if it gets you upset or you think it is unfair and wrong.

Knowing the buzz gives you a fighting change of changing it by changing something about your behavior or visibility demonstrating that the buzz is inaccurate. To find out the buzz you usually need someone in your network that is wired in, has access to key decision makers or is in meetings when your name comes up.

In addition almost anyone in your network can pass along things they hear people say about you. Obviously what key decision makers think is the most important piece to discover. If you haven’t established a network now is the time to start. For the future, remember our saying that “the day you need a network it is too late to build it.”

Sometimes you can ask your supervisors directly but in this case it doesn’t seem like people are being candid with you. Once you learn the real buzz you can usually determine if this can be changed. When you discover what it is please write us again and we will brainstorm how to change it or if you move on how to make sure this is not the buzz on you going forward.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.

Warm regards,

Rick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. Co-authors,
Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success

cover of Survival of the SavvyRick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. are Co-authors, Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success. Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America’s most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.

  1. One Answer to “Dribbling my future away in the NBA”

  2. I agree with Dr. Seldman and Dr. Brandon, the young man should not quit. With the degree and past problems with the law it will take a lot of time to overcome that mistake. 3 years isn’t a very long time. A crime was committed and trust has to be earned.

    By Justin M on Feb 21, 2007

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