Career Advice, Watercooler

Career Lessons from George Costanza

Whether you watched the original series or are now enjoying it in syndication – or both, you’ve likely been touched by the nine-season running Seinfeld sitcom in some form or fashion.  Good comic relief and laughs about the awkward moments in life is always a great way to unwind after a long work day (or day spent looking for work as more are apt to be doing these days).

We turn to an unlikely character, George Costanza played by Jason Alexander, to garner some profound career insights.  Whether you’re currently in the job market or locked into a steady career, we’re sure you can appreciate some of these lessons (even if you’ve seen it 10 to 20 times over the years like we have).

Always consider your career options, the sky’s the limit: “I like sports…I could be the general manager of a baseball team…I could be an announcer.” In the scene below, George chats with Jerry about what he could do next in his career. Two pieces of advice come from this segment – consider what you love to do and evaluate your skills and experience to determine how you can follow your dreams. If you are considering a career change, check out these tips from career & workplace expert Rusty Rueff.

Appreciate your colleagues’ generosity but don’t abuse it: In one episode, George lies about being handicapped and in response, his company and co-workers are willing to go the distance to create a work environment that makes it easier for him to get around.  Bottom line is don’t lie to your co-workers or to potential employers – it will only come back to haunt you. For any Seinfeld fans out there, you know that George’s approach to most anything rarely works out the way he may have intended. Just remember that your colleagues appreciate honesty and if do screw up, own it and apologize.

Approach a resignation with grace and preparation: Deloitte reported that once the economy rebounds, companies will see a ‘tsunami of deflections’ among employees. So if you are waiting for the economy to stabilize before you put in your resignation, think about how and when you want to do it. Check out the clip below where George faces denial over his resignation and heads back into the office as if nothing happened. George reminds us that once you let the cat out the bag and inform your employer that you plan to leave, think about your next steps and consider your last few days as a  time to shine as you could be marked with a low-commitment or short-timer stigma. Don’t let bad decisions or hurt feelings impact your career and reputation, and please don’t go back to seek revenge.

Alright Seinfeld fans, now it’s your turn – what moments do you remember that teach us lessons for jobs and careers?