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Jump on an airplane and head for the most remote location on the planet you can think of. Upon arrival, look around. If there is any form of natural vegetation, you will almost always find weeds. Next, travel to the most cultivated garden location you can think of, like the gardens of the English Royal Family. Ask the gardener if he and his crew struggle with weeds on a daily basis. He will explain that, yes, they have been pulling weeds for more than 400 years. Whenever we neglect a portion of the garden, weeds appear. He won’t be able to explain why they always return, except that neglect is their breeding ground. It seems the only intelligent conclusion is to accept that weeds will always be a part of any garden. Therefore, eliminating weeds is not an arbitrary task, but rather an everyday obligation to maintain a beautiful and healthy garden.

In your career life, the weeds that appear will be the setbacks, the disappointments and bad habits, that we all must confront. By embracing the reality that career weeds will be part of your life, it will help you to be aware of them.


These are the every day weeds of annoyance, like: the alarm didn’t go off; you needed gas before going to work and time just drags; heavy traffic and missed appointments.


These are weeds to take seriously because they can cause you serious financial harm. These include periods of unemployment, being passed over for a promotion, your company going bankrupt, complacency on the job, economic turndowns, burnout, mergers, buyouts, even a closed mind to opportunities.


These weeds can destroy your career. The weeds are procrastination, low self-esteem, sarcasm, racial discrimination and addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc… Once these weeds take hold, you may need a professional to destroy them. These life changing, destructive weeds must be conquered.

When you identify a weed, pull it ASAP. If you hesitate, the weed grows deeper roots and is more difficult to remove. The bigger and healthier the weed, the more likelihood that you may not pull it out completely and leave a root for the weed to re-generate. Waiting too long to yank a weed also allows the weed to germinate and spread its seed, leading to more weeds to pull later.

[QUICK TIP] When weeds appear in your career garden, don’t curse and wonder "Why me?" Accepting that weeds will always be part of your career life makes it a no-brainer to quickly pull them and get on with your future. In Scott Peck’s wonderful book, The Road Less Traveled, he opens the first page with "Life is difficult." I humbly paraphrase his truism with, "Life with weeds."

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George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.