5 career lessons from Halloween

Remember how much fun Halloween was when you were a kid? You got to dress up as a superhero or witch or Power Ranger and random strangers handed you treats. Wouldn’t it be fun if your job was more like Halloween?

While we can’t guarantee that every work day will be filled with more treats than tricks, we did glean some career-related wisdom from the spookiest day of the year.

Don’t ghost people

There’s no worse feeling than being in the middle of a great conversation (or salary negotiation) and suddenly finding yourself a persona non grata while your partner in conversation seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. Before you decide to be the one doing the disappearing rather than tackling a tricky issue or annoying co-worker, try to come up with a more graceful exit strategy.

Do something that scares you

Terrified of speaking at a conference? Spooked out at the thought of writing a white paper? Think of that fun shiver of anticipation and then relief that the Halloweens of your childhood always scared up and try to figure out a way to tackle something you’ve never done before.

Be a real-life superhero

While people don tights and capes one day of the year, try finding a way to make your career matter. As Dena White, US Marketing Manager for Tony’s Chocolonely a chocolate brand with the tagline “together we make 100% slave free chocolate” explains it, the company was founded in 2005 by the producers of Keuringsdienst van Waarde, a Dutch journalistic television program. “During an investigative assignment, Teun (Tony) van de Keuken, was shocked to find out that slavery still existed in the cocoa industry, even in those bars that were labeled “Fair Trade.” Even worse, nothing was being done about it.

After challenging the industry to improve and change their policies, he took it upon himself to be the change he wanted to see. Teun decided to lead by example, so he produced his own slave-free chocolate bars to show the industry that it can be done. And that’s how Tony’s Chocolonely was born.” All that and yummy chocolate too.

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Is there any way you can make your own work matter more? Start small by designating an official charity for your company, or simply by volunteering some of your talents for a local organization.

Be friendlier

If you think about it, Halloween is one of the friendliest days of the year. People open their doors to random strangers and share delicious treats.

White said that at Tony’s Chocolonely they have a simple philosophy of being friendly and open. “We’re always talking about how important transparency within the supply chain is, so we’re transparent about everything we do.” To that end “We release our full financials to the public even though we’re a privately held company. Why not? We have nothing to hide. We’re also realistic. Our vision for 100% slave-free chocolate worldwide simply cannot be accomplished by a single company. We’re all in this together, so making serious friends is big. Every person who supports our mission is equal and important.”

How about you? Have you noticed that you’re more obsequious to your boss while a bit dismissive to your nearest cubicle dweller? Why not try to become a bit friendlier to everyone you work with? You never know who might have that next big lead or contact.

Keep your childish enthusiasm

If you’re worried that you’ve become hardened by your job and all the related pitfalls, try to remember the excitement you felt when you first were told you got the job.

White said “We love chocolate. We all get genuinely excited about it, and that childlike excitement finds its way into our overall tone of voice. Even though we have a very serious mission, ultimately chocolate should be fun and for everyone. We never lose sight of that. We talk to our consumers and partners the same way we talk to our friends. We like making people smile, so we sprinkle in jokes, plays on words and anecdotes in our communication and product descriptions.”

The next time you’re about to moan about your job to your family or best friend, try to think about the way the rest of the world sees you/your job/your expertise. Or at the very least, try to think about the best part of your job and remind yourself why you do what you do!