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I’m sitting in a local restaurant’s large and crowded waiting area. The seating is formed in a half circle. As my wife and I chitchat, a young man walks in and sits directly facing us. The phrase on his T-shirt says, “Mind Closed Until Further Notice.” My first reaction was that’s clever and anti-authority. The more I stared are his shirt, the more I realized the immense consequences of the statement and it’s negative impact.

How does this relate to careers? If you are a regular reader, you’re probably already ahead of me. Over the years of recruiting and placing people, I have written that the biggest roadblock to success is a closed mind, unwilling to explore new opportunities. Most of us have missed at least one solid opportunity because we were reluctant to look and justified our thinking by stating one of these three following replies. If you feel that you have missed opportunities, here are a few tips to help you keep an open mind during all stages of your career.

Excuse: I’ve just been promoted and I love my new position. I worked hard to get this far and I’m not going to jeopardize my job by interviewing with any company. My company helped pay for my education. They treat me very well and loyalty is an important trait.
Tip: Loyalty is a two-way street and your company may not feel the same about you. It’s best to remember that if you are doing a good job for good pay, then both sides are even at every payday.

Excuse: I just joined this company. My spouse will think I’m nuts if I interview. I’m in a new job, in a new city and I have a relocation payback agreement, if I leave it will cost me money.

Tip: That all may be true, but why would your current situation stop you from looking into the future? You should always be curious about opportunities. Agreements and early commitments can be fixed if the opportunity is right.

3. I’M GONNA’ T.I.O.
Excuse: The expressions, “I’m going to think it over,” “ I need time to think it over” and “I’ll have to think about it,” are imaginary spring-loaded mind-closer to opportunities. T.I.O. is a stalling technique to avoid making a decision. T.I.O. is justified procrastination that ultimately leads to non-closure of the decision; you decide not to decide.
Tip: Taking the time to get all the facts and details is smart. We all conduct due diligence on some level, but at some point, you must decide. Problems develop when indecision morphs into fear and you stop the process without making a decision.

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” That was written by Don Marquis about 80 years ago. This wisdom applies today, tomorrow and to your long-term career building. Keeping an open mind regardless of your present situation is an essential ingredient to your future success.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

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.