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What Star Wars teaches us about career management

Thomas Wailgum | Oct. 29, 2009
It's been really difficult using the Force to convince your HR manager or boss to see things your way.

Star Wars Moment: In Episode V, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO are thwarted as they try to get away from the Empire (again) as the Millennium Falcon fails to make the jump to light speed. Damn hyperdrive! Solo makes a bold move and gets creative about hiding out from the Empire.

Real-World Lesson: Technology sometimes fails us when we need it the most. Also, be ready to try something radical and different with your career choices.

"You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It's your choice." -Luke Skywalker

File Under: Networking

Star Wars Moment: As our heroes are about to be pushed into the digestive tract of the all-powerful Sarlacc in Episode VI, Luke instructs Han Solo to stick close to Chewbacca and Lando because, as Luke says, "I've taken care of everything."

Real-World Lesson: If there's a rising star in your company and he gives advice or takes you under his wing, you'd better oblige him. (In other words: Stay close to the guy who's got the "light saber" in the company.)

"I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time, you will call me master." -The Emperor (a.k.a. Dark Lord of the Sith, a.k.a. Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious)

File Under: Employer Selection; Industry Switch; Networking

Star Wars Moment: In Episode VI, during a verbal spat with confused and proud-papa Darth Vader looking on, The Emperor derides Luke Skywalker, claiming that his biggest weakest is his "faith" in his Rebel Alliance friends, and that Skywalker is foolish for not joining the Dark Side.

Real-World Lesson: If you have trust in your present employer's future strategy and coworkers' competence, don't let a rival employer sway you into joining his organization by using overconfident FUD.

"Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure." -C-3PO

File Under: Risk Management

Star Wars Moment: At the beginning of Episode IV, storm troopers blast through the door of Princess Leia's starship and come charging in. The first ones through the door are killed by Princess Leia's loyal guards.

Real-World Lesson: There are times when it's a good strategy to be a "fast-follower" rather than the first one to jump to a new or risky assignment.

"I think she kinda likes me." -Luke Skywalker

File Under: Relationship Building; Office Politics

Star Wars Moment: During the Star Wars saga, siblings Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia share several confusing moments and kisses, as a bewildered Han Solo usually looks on.

Real-World Lesson: Working closely with family members can be confusing at times and emotionally difficult (especially when your twin sister looks that good).

 

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