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How to work as a professional.


Daniel Lee Kew Gardens, NY

During my time in the military, I have found that the role of a mentor and leader is a very fulfilling role. I will not say that I was the best, every person has work to do. However, I am in a situation where I must start from the ground up. It has been a humbling, yet tiresome and frustrating, experience. I do my best to constantly remind myself that I am better than no one. Is there any tips, tricks, or stories on how not to be your own worst work enemy/career destroyer?

14 November 2018 7 replies General



Ethan Margalith Los Angeles, CA

Hey Daniel - My father, S.H. Margalith, whose service included but was not limited to the Marines, Army and Navy, and who was one of the first to land on the beach in the invasion of Normandy, many times spoke to me about similar issues. One of the things he favored about his military experience, in contrast to the private sector, was that he felt that at that time in history it was clearly known that superior rank was not necessarily equal to superior ability. He felt that in the private sector there tended to be a general assumption in the organizations he worked for that it is a meritocracy, and that was true in varying degrees, and sometimes far off the mark.
...I don’t know how closely that fits your comment, but over time your ability and demonstrated performance should catch up to match your opportunity...

25 November 2018 Helpful answer


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Daniel sounds like you are a victim of your negative thinking. You are asking the wrong questions. The way the Universe works is that you put a question (your thoughts) out there and the universe responds with answers. If you ask better questions like why is is so easy for me to overcome your current constraints (fill in the blanks). You will get answers that will move you towards where you desire to go. The answers will come in many forms. People you accidentally bump into, info that is sent to you or something your read. Just be open. Or it just might be that inner voice that is guiding you. If you continue to think the way you are thinking, you will continue to get answers that reinforce your current thinking. Sorry to be so blunt but that is how the "Law of Attraction" works as so many people have found out. The goods news is that you can change your thoughts in a heart beat. Good luck.


Rob Pianka Lancaster, PA


Interesting bio.

I have a gut feeling, forgive me if I'm wrong. To me your question sounds less about a military/civilian transition thing and more like the experience everyone one who is excellent at something undergoes when they go down into the market place.

If that is the case, here's what I say:

"Give credit where credit is due", even to yourself... because "Let us be absolutely clear about one thing: we must not confuse humility with false modesty".

It's a matter of advancing your value civilly yet assertively. In a way, lot's of what we all have to offer each other in an enriched market place that benefits us all is blocked not only by people putting other people down but also by people not putting themselves effectively up.

My experience is that everyone believes at most 50% of the claims someone else makes... Me, I'm willing to step up to 95% of the claims I make.




Jeff Holloway Tucson, AZ

Thank you for your service.
I can relate to your situation and remember when things got tough I would recite this quote from Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming”. Once you set your sights on a goal, just keep swimming until you achieve it. Good luck in your journey. Before you know it, you will be using this experience to mentor fellow service members during their career transition.


Bill Ferriero Tewksbury, MA

Daniel you stated that you remind yourself that you are better than no one. The opposite it true also - the superstars are no better than you.


Chuck Burger King Of Prussia, PA


In my entire career I have made a point of never comparing myself to others. I have only ever performed the best that I could no matter what the objective; from projects directly supporting our Freedom Fighters to the mundane administrative tasks. I may be considered my own worst enemy in some respects, but in the long run that mantra has paid off nicely in terms of career progression and perhaps more importantly, longevity.

Seek out mentors from a variety of sources as was suggested, listen thoughtfully, and parse the information into actionable intelligence.


Susana Moraga Hayward, CA

Thank you for your service.
It looks like you are pursuing your goals in a methodical way.
Along the way seek to develop mentors, every field just like every organization is different. We are all constantly learning or falling behind.
Seek out professors as well as professionals where you work, and don't forget about professional associations or volunteers on this site.


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