Career Lessons Learned from Jack

In addition to being a crazed Gator fan (is it football season yet?), I’m also a Hallmark movie mush. Yes, I admit it.  And yesterday I caught up on a few of my DVR’d flicks, including Jack’s Family Adventure. 

Jack is an ad executive who has worked 80 hours a week for 5 years to make partner. He walks in on an office celebration to find out the “new guy” was given the title over him. Devastated and disappointed, he asks for, and gets, a month’s vacation and takes his family on an adventure. Of course, while he’s away he experiences a major paradigm shift.

I thought there were a few great career lessons for finance executives in that movie.

Priorities … His family paid a huge price for his commitment to work and he was repaid by not getting the thing he worked so had to secure. His family was no longer a “family.” It was four people who passed each other inside the house on their way to and fro. It took a blow to his ego for Jack to get his priorities straight.

Courage … It didn’t take courage for him to request a long vacation, something he hadn’t taken in 3 years. He made that request and took that action out of anger. It took courage for him to say “no” to coming back on his boss’s terms. He could only do that, though, when he – and his boss – recognized his …

Value … Jack’s value (and marketability) increased dramatically when he left and the new account that led to someone else being named partner began falling apart. Suddenly Jack held all the power in the boss – employee relationship as Jack’s contributions to the company and the account became obvious. Understanding your value, but not communicating it to anyone else, is akin to not being valuable as well as not being recognized or rewarded for your contributions.