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Chip ‘Hoover’ O’Donnell is the chipmunk who lives under my deck; my wife gave him the middle name Hoover because he sucks up birdseed like a vacuum cleaner. I think most people and animals would say Chip is spoiled. My wife and I provide him with birdseed and, more recently, a water dish. Yeah… he’s got it made. Funny thing is, those times I don’t break down and give him seed (yes, I can resist his plea-filled eyes every once in a while), he goes right back to foraging. It doesn’t matter that he probably already has enough seed to last the next winter, he still keeps gathering seed and search new places for seeds. What the heck?

For professionals at any stage of their careers, Chip is a great role model. Like Chip, we as professionals need to keep moving forward. If you remain stagnant and don’t push yourself, your skills and knowledge will get outdated quickly. That said, here are lessons learned from Chip:

  • Keep seeking new training: referred to as ‘continuing education’, taking time to refresh your skills and/ or learn new skills in your field. That way, you will be ready and a leader for when new technology or strategies take over your field. Chip, he’s ALWAYS looking for new places to find seeds… and he’s always trying new cute poses to get me to break and give him more.

  • Keep motivated and doing your job. Complacency at work leads to sloppiness and distraction. Keep getting your job done and always seek ways to outdo your previous accomplishments. Chip, yeah I wasn’t kidding. He likely already has enough seed in his den to last the next Buffalo winter. But, what if his stash of seed were stolen by the red squirrel that keeps encroaching on his area? Or, what if I was not able to provide him with more seed? Chip is not taking any chances. He keeps foraging – morning , noon and early evening (he takes breaks at dusk to sit on the deck at my feet while I write or read (or play Warcraft). Keep working hard so you are better able to address career obstacles that pop up now and then.

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