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  • Writer's pictureGrace Simpson


It was the best of times... and it was the worst of times...

2015 has been a pretty unpredictable year for me. When Target publicly announced they were closing all stores in Canada it was personally pretty devastating. I know it was just my career and I still had my health, my home and my family, but my career has always been a defining part of my life and the news was out there for everyone to see!

I do not regret for one second joining Target and helping to open (and close) a few stores. But, you can learn from every experience and this is what Target taught me over two and a half years:

You Choose to Succeed or Fail

By far the #1 question I have been asked is why Target Canada packed it in. Through much anger, perspective and experience I have come to the conclusion the company made the choice to fail. Had Target wanted to succeed, I have no doubt they could have pushed through the pain and made the incredibly tough journey. Given the same scenario, another company may have chosen a different path (Sears is at least trying...)

No one can make you give up! Whether you were given a great starting point or lagged a few laps behind at the beginning, your attitude and determination make a significant impact on your destination.

Listening Trumps Speaking

As a company Target was known for giving plenty feedback. I remember having a manager tell me that I seem to always be (not so) patiently waiting for the other person to finish their sentence so I could tell that person what I want them to do. To me that seemed like a really annoying trait.

My chatty Kathy skills can compete with the best of them, but taking the time to step back and listen to conversation gives your the opportunity to make a bigger impact when you do speak. Embracing that tough feedback helped me grow a lot faster as a leader and as a person.

No One Else Demands Work/Life Balance For You!

I worked really hard at Target - both in terms of hours and mental capacity, but it could definitely be draining. I remember getting to work at 4am on Thanksgiving Sunday to work a 10 hour shift only to fall asleep on my boyfriend's parents couch before dessert was even served that night. But, I gotta own it - I wanted to develop my career, made work a priority and did not share the other priorities in my life.

Even the world's best managers do not know everything that is going on in your life and what is a priority to you. Sharing this information with your manager gives them the opportunity to care!

Optimism and perspective make a big impact. I made a dedicated effort to take time to reflect on things now (because I never used to) and this kind of personal debriefing helps me to move on and improve for the next time. If you don't take time to reflect right now, try setting aside quiet time (avoid the temptation to nap) and just think about the craziness that is your life.

Ps. I officially start a new career next week and could not be more excited! Stay tuned for my next post. (Hint, it builds on my love of online shopping!)

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