What Success Really Looks Like

October 1, 2015

Bright Spots and Blots Define a Career Trajectory

This article was originally published in the October 2015 Journal “Pathways to Leadership” for Learning Forward.

The image of success not being a straight, upward arrow but a big, messy scribbled blob defines my career trajectory perfectly. My work has moved forward, pushed upward, and stretched further, but it hasn’t been a smooth and easy path.

For nine years, I was a high school English teacher. Then Macbeth died in the last act every hour on the hour, and I needed to move on. I became a new teacher coach and a professional learning facilitator in one school district for 16 years, where I eventually found my consulting voice and moved from professional learning facilitator to author, consultant, and speaker.

In this last incarnation, I have reflected on the doodle blob of career growth and new adventures and found there are both spots of bright ink and messy dark splotches and blots. Icks and yeas! Stings and ouches as well as audible bravas. The real trajectory. Here is a sample of my blots and bright spots.

To read the full article, click here to download the full PDF .

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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Praise for Jennifer

“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”

Dr. Nancy Frey, Dean of Academic Affairs
Health Sciences High and Middle College, San Diego, CA