Even though John Crossman’s book “Career Killers/Career Builders: The Book Every Millennial Should Read” is aimed at millennials, its lessons apply to anyone in the workplace. I found this slim text to be unique in its focus on ethical behavior and people and relationships. To Crossman, these are the keys to creating a lasting career and fulfilling life.
Crossman is a Florida success story with passions for real estate and mentoring young people. He lectures in colleges and universities throughout the state, and this 2017 book stems from one of his most successful talks (YouTube – Top 5 Career Killers & Top 5 Career Builders). His writing style is conversational and his tone earnest and sincere – he wants to help.
After years spent observing and learning from others, Crossman narrowed his career advice down to five things to watch out for and five things to cultivate. His five career killers include intoxicants and greed, but pride was the most interesting to me. Whenever someone goes on and on about being proud I always think how pride is one of the “seven deadly sins.” Something about that Sunday school lesson made an impression, apparently. I agree with Crossman when he says that feeling good about accomplishments is one thing, but excessive pride can cloud judgment and keep us from staying humble and vulnerable.
Excess is at the heart of all his “killers.” Partying, greed and out-of-control emotions have ruined many careers. His book is filled with cautionary tales and the message is clear: don’t go down this dark path of destruction. I know that sounds dramatic but just look at recent scandals involving Cosby, Manafort, Weinstein and Holmes. Greed, sex, drugs, temperament and pride all played a starring role in their downfall.
Enough of the heavy stuff – Crossman’s “career builders” are the best part of his book. They all have a something in common: they involve other people. Number one is mentors. Crossman has solid advice for finding them, “keep your antenna up,” he says, and makes it clear that mentoring is a two-way street. He advises us to find a way to serve and to always ask “how can I help?”
The rest of his career builders are: Relationships (friends and family); Professional Counseling; Becoming Coachable and Connections. Crossman touts career counseling and the fresh perspective it provides. I agree that more people should take advantage of counseling and coaching, and not let that killer pride get in the way of seeking help.
In the last section of Crossman’s book, “Creating a Unified Life,” he reminds us of the bigger picture. Tailored to young people starting out – but it could be for someone older and starting over – he counsels them to think carefully about identifying a passion, building a strong brand and choosing the right city to make their mark.
I appreciated “Career Killers/Career Builders.” Crossman’s sincere desire to help people succeed comes through. It’s perfect for a person starting a career, sure, but if you’re not completely satisfied with your current situation you may find it helpful too.