I know a lot of people who have had to go through the process of rehabbing their career. You make a bad move for money, or you get fired for some reason that will look bad but doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad, or you out of work for longer than you wanted to be and now it’s hard to explain. Many, many folks get into these career rehab scenarios.
One of the most common rehabs I see is in college and professional coaching. A major one is in the works know and I think it gives us all a roadmap on how you should rehab your own career. Lane Kiffin was a comet in college coaching! He was a hotshot assistant coach at USC when legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis hired him as his head coach at only 31 years old! A year and half into that job he was fired,
A year and a half into that job he was fired, but it didn’t cost him his reputation on the college level and the University of Tennessee hired Lane to be their head coach almost immediately. Lane spent one year at Tennessee when USC came calling for their head coaching gig and the USC job is one of the top coaching jobs in the country, so Lane left Tennesse for USC.
That’s a lot of movement in a very short timeline! USC-Raiders-Tennessee-USC all in about three years. Lane spent three seasons and two games at USC before he was fired after a game at LAX after being called off the team bus.
So, you now have been given three head coaching jobs, two of which you’ve been fired from, one of which you left in the dead of night after only one season for a prettier girl! Needless to say Lane needed a big time career rehab!
Kiffin’s next move was critical, and he nailed it! If your career is in shambles and you want to fix it, you take a job you know you can flat out kill, at the best company possible, and you stay patient. Kiffin took the Offensive Coordinator’s job (his specialty) at the University of Alabama under the arguably the greatest college coach of all-time, Nick Saban.
Here’s what Kiffin knew before even taking the job. Alabama and Saban are going to win. If your career is in shambles you want to work for a winner. Kiffin would have taken any job working for Saban! Grad Assistant, Quarterback Coach, Receivers coach, academic advisor, etc.! Kiffin knew being on Saban’s staff would immediately elevate him if he just did the job he was hired to do, and was a good soldier to Saban.
He played the part perfectly. Three seasons with Saban, even when he could have left for head coaching job earlier. He stayed patient, he stayed loyal and last week he was rewarded with his next head coaching job at Florida International University. Another brilliant move in rehabbing his career! Make you next big gig one that has almost zero expectations. So, if you fail, no one expected you to do good there anyway, it’s not you, it’s them!
How do you rehab your career in one step?
Go find the absolute best company and best boss in the world to work for. No matter the job. No matter how low level. And work there under that person until you put enough distance between the bad stuff and the new stuff. Might take a year, might take five years, it’s all relative to how screwed up your career is.
You rehab your career by taking one giant step back, not worrying about the position you get, but really worrying about where and who that position is. Most people do the opposite. They take the first job that pays them similar to their last job, which is usually an awful job where they’ll be set up for failure, and continue the downward spiral of their career.