It’s Valentine’s day … and I’ll bet most of you reading this post have either gotten a sweet surprise today … or will be giving a sweet surprise to someone else. Surprises are great aren’t they?

Well, unless they aren’t great. For instance, I routinely walk to the other side of my house and into the guest bathroom of the guest bedroom to flush the toilet during those weeks when it isn’t getting much use. I can laugh about this now, but the ugly white frog that jumped out at me a few weeks ago … elicited a blood-curdling scream that I’m sure they heard in the next county. It was NOT the kind of surprise I like, nor ever want again. Critters have a place on God’s green earth, but it isn’t anywhere in my house!

The other kind of surprise that isn’t fun or wanted is being blinded-sided by job loss. Here you are, a dedicated CFO working 60-80 hours a week and missing all the important milestones of your children’s lives … and what do you get for that? A pink slip. Your position has existed at the mercy of the CEO, Board, and / or shareholders … and what they give, they can take away just as fast.

It’s not a surprise I would wish on any one.

I’m part of the CFO Roundtable panel on Wednesday morning in Boston. Surprisingly, there is no call for a snow storm and in fact, the weather might just be a balmy 43 degrees. And as a Florida girl, balmy is a relative term here. One of the things I’ll be suggesting to the CFOs in the audience is that they get in the driver’s seat of their careers and begin to manage it proactively. If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t get there. And if you get derailed (let go for any reason), getting back on track is just a whole lot more difficult than it would otherwise be if you had a plan and were consistently executing that plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail … and just begging for an unwanted surprise!

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