Kindergarten Lessons applied to Career Branding

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All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten was published in the late 1980’s by Robert Fulghum.  It is an amazing reminder of how much everyone complicates life, goals, and rules to live by. (If you haven’t read it, get the book.)

We are deep in the age of information overload and people must find a way to clear away the clutter and simplify their lives for success.  As we think of career branding, I think Fulghum’s learning’s serve as great reminders as to how to conduct ourselves.

Below I have highlighted 11 kindergarten learning’s that really are applicable to personal branding, job search, and online identity management:

Share Everything: Sharing is central to social collaboration and may be the greatest value of the Internet.  Done properly it helps you establish your personal brand, build relationships and trust. (Personal branding + Relationships capital = Career branding)

Don’t take things that aren’t yours: In business, we equate this to original ideas. Too often business people consciously, unconsciously or coincidentally put forward thoughts, observations or strategies that are not their original work.  Give credit, where credit is due.  Think about blogging, things can get muddy with close to 500 million blogs currently active on the Internet.  Charles Caleb Colton said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flaterry” That said, as you build your brand online, be sure to credit others where appropriate.

Play fair: Integrity, honesty and strong moral values remain central skills to being successful in any corporate culture. (and life)

Never forget the first word we learned was not ‘Mom’, but ‘Look’:  Keep your eyes open at all times. Observe changes in your marketplace, your role, your companies operational efficiency and even your own skill set.  These observations and how you react to them are critical to successful career pathing.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you and/or take a nap every afternoon: The pace of technology, the pace of life and the pace of business have created new stresses unimaginable 20 years ago.  Never forget to give yourself a ‘decompression moment’ in every day.

Hold hands in traffic: Is there a better analogy for someone unemployed?  Remember the friend, neighbor or former colleague out of work in the current jobs recession desperately needs help navigating the traffic. Everyone else is buzzing by them on their commute.  Take time to hold hands! An important piece of career branding is helping others even when they may not be able to help you.

Flush: An obvious kindergarten teaching, I have also heard it used often in coaching kids sports. Bad things and mistakes do happen. Setbacks will occur.  Flush them and move on.

Don’t hit people: Alienating co-workers with different points of view will not help your career. Always be respectful and keep negative energy internal as much as possible. Career Branding is a multi decade process and by not ‘hitting people’ you will keep more doors open as you move through your career. Also remember, “Say you’re sorry if you hurt somebody”. 

Live a balanced life: Fulghum suggests; learn, draw, paint, think, sing, dance and play every day.

A career coaching line I have used for decades is: “When things feel overwhelming at work, remember: Health, Family, Fun and Work.  In that order.”

The recession, The Internet, The pace of change are complicating factors in everyone’s careers.  Step back and simplify your career branding strategy.

Remember what you learned in Kindergarten. Then apply it.

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After writing this article, and researching a title, I discovered Heather Huhman wrote a brief article linking job search to kindergarten lessons in January 2012. Similar concept with different observations, Check it out here

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1 Response to “Kindergarten Lessons applied to Career Branding”


  1. 1 juliekelly April 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Great article! And a nice reminder for us to find the balance in todays fast-paced, technology driven life. This article would be terrific “recommended reading” to all new employees!


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