I announced last week that I’ll be running a poll on my sidebar each week. I'm aiming for a new one every Tuesday.
The poll is a fun way for me to think about career topics. A new format always gets me going. But it’s also fun because even after writing about careers for ten years, I have a lot of questions in my head that I have not found research to address.
Today’s poll is one of them. I know the research about who is bulimic and what happens to them. Mostly because I was bulimic all through college and I thought becoming an expert on the topic would help me stop throwing up. (That didn’t work, but the mental ward did). But there is no workplace research. And I’m curious. So I wrote the poll question because I genuinely want to know the answer: What percentage of women in corporate America are bulimic? I think the answer is higher than anyone would expect.
I know that my poll would not pass scientific muster. But I like that we are at least going to start talking about my question. Well, that’s what I was thinking. But then I realized that my poll idea—while a grand opportunity for snark, and also an opportunity to fulfill my dreams of writing quizzes for Cosmo—is not the depth of conversation I am hoping for.
So maybe, I am thinking, I will write a post about the poll each week, to hear what you all think of the topic. I still want you to vote on the poll. Who doesn’t love a good statistic about sex (last week) or bulimia (this week) or the intersection of sex/bulimia/work (maybe every week)? So you all should love the poll archive.
Some of you will ask, “Why are we talking about bulimia and sex on a career blog?” Here is some career advice for you: The best thing to do in a recession is make your focus on keeping your learning curve high. Forget about rank —it’s going to be hard to get internal raises or big jumps from job hopping. But eventually the recession will end, and you want to make sure you’re in a good position to take advantage of that.
People who are always curious and always learning are keeping the recession from killing their career trajectory. You don’t need to have a job to be learning, you don’t need to have a great title to be stretching your skills. And really, really, you don’t need to go to graduate school and earn a degree to prove that you are learning. In fact, maybe you need to take a job you’re not thrilled with, but remember that no one can dictate your learning curve. You control that.
My curiosity about bulimics at work is a reflection of the curiosity that got me through the recession that existed when I entered the workforce. When I was unemployed, I worked in interesting jobs for free. When I was employed, I read outside my expertise at night. When I was out with a group of people, I looked for the people who could teach me something new.
So, some of you will go for the bulimia poll, and some won’t. But regardless, each of us should ask engaging questions each day. It’s a lifestyle, and it’s cheap, and it keeps our learning curve steep, so it’s a great way to face down a tanking economy.