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Expect to Win

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 4/22/2009, 5 p.m.

Around the country, some 6 million people are out of a job. You're not one of them.

You have a workplace to report to and you aim to keep it that way. Despite the economy, you've set hopeful goals this year and you anticipate success. But even though you've done this job for years, you seem to have hit a wall.

All the guidebooks have good advice for someone like you who's been around the block awhile, so you already know what to do. But how do you do it? Get some good tips by reading "Expect to Win" (c.2009, Hudson Street Press, $24.95 / $27.50, 224 pages) by Wall Street veteran Carla A. Harris.

Harris says that, when she was rising in her career, she noticed the problem you're experiencing: you've assimilated career information from all sources, but you don't know how to put it to work at work. She says she promised herself that she'd someday give advice that was easy to follow, step-by-step.

Thus, this book.

First, she says, remember that you got your job because you were the best candidate for it. Your employers chose you, so bring your real self to the job. Not being yourself is stressful, and you can't keep that up for long.

Never forget that you are in control of your career. You are in charge of its direction, its agenda, and your future. Write down your career goals and refer to them when you're in a quandary.
Learn to look objectively at opportunity, be flexible, and see the long-term picture.

Understand that it's never too late to acquire a mentor, an advisor, and a sponsor. Better yet, get a personal "Board of Directors" to support you. Ask for feedback from your boss, other supervisors, and your support team. Be aware that what others think about you will have bearing on that feedback.

Watch, but don't envy your peers' rise up the corporate ladder and don't spend lots of time comparing yourself with them; every dog has his day and your turn will come. To further that along, align yourself with the right people in the workplace. Admit to your mistakes and make sure your boss knows you've learned from them.

Speak up and take risks; your career depends on both of those abilities. Network as much as possible, and learn to "give back".

Feeling stalled in your career? Thinking of jumping ship? You're going to want to read "Expect to Win" before you do anything.

Author Carla A. Harris gives you a feel-good boost by letting you know that your work concerns aren't abnormal and - more importantly - she offers calming advice to help you keep on track.
While it's meant for anyone who believes their career has flattened, I think, because of certain anecdotes and references, Harris's advice may better serve women who are struggling on a circuitous route to the top.

In this economy, you want to protect your job and do things right, and this book can only help. For up-and-coming high-achievers, "Expect to Win" is one to lose yourself in.