5 Crazy Career Lessons We’ve Learned by Watching the Olympics in Sochi


The Winter Olympics are well under way and there’s one story line that just won’t go away: many people feel that Sochi hasn’t lived up to expectations.

From high threats of terrorism to homeless canines running amuck, unfinished living accommodations to egregious human rights propaganda, the negativity surrounding this year’s Olympic host has been downright brutal. In fact, it might even be fair to say that despite Russia’s best efforts to be a gracious Olympic host, just about everything has gone wrong. But there’s a bright side – within every failure is an opportunity to learn.

Here are five career lessons we’ve learned from Sochi’s mishaps that you can help you in your job search:


1. Follow Through

You spend hours on your resume, multiple takes on your video interview and you do your homework before going into the interview. You’ve vested a lot in the opportunity, selling the top notch version of yourself… and then you show them who you really are. When Russia made it’s bid for the Olympics, it was at it’s zenith, but even then it was making promises it couldn’t likely keep. Now here we are – and the application and the reality don’t match up. There’s a difference between amping up your abilities and downright faking. (Hint: many times, ‘fake it till you make it’ is poor advice to follow)

2. Have an Eye for Detail

In Sochi, they spent hundreds of millions on extensively-designed, lavishly-decorated hotels… but they put the toilet seats on wrong. Unfortunately for Sochi, that is the headline that’s gone ‘round the world. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so take the time to really look over everything before putting on your big show.

3. Investigate the Destination

You’re scouring the great world wide web looking for jobs that sound appealing. Company X sounds like a great place to work… despite a few employee lawsuits and some nasty online customer reviews. Oh well, what’s proximity to a bad thing? It’s Bad News Bears, that’s what! While it looks like a beautiful coastal area, Sochi’s proximity to unrest in the Caucasus mountains deterred many people from visiting this years’ Olympics. In other words – unlike the Olympic committee, you’ll want to really give some thought about where you send that resume and subsequently might end up.

4. Assess Your Investments

It can be easy to go overboard when you want to excel. What starts out as a need for a good resume turns into a full on thesis project; what begins as the search for a nice outfit turns into a Calvin Klein suit on your credit card. As for Russia, Sochi’s Olympic center cost an unprecedented $51 billion – and for what? They’re still being judged based on their core performance.

5. Don’t Be a One Man Show

There are a ton of truly incredible athletes at this year’s Winter Olympics, and yet the entire show has been and likely will continue to be dominated by one man, and interestingly enough, he’s not even trying to medal. Yes, we’re referring to the Man, the Myth, and the Legend: Vladimir Putin. So, don’t be a Vladimir (even though that is a pretty hardcore awesome name) and avoid making everything about you. Talk about how you collaborated with others, grew under great leadership and inspired subordinates. Sure, all that stuff has to do with you, but it’s extroverted enough to also demonstrate that you’re a team player.


The final lesson?

At the end of the day, the judgement that’s been passed on Sochi may be harsh, unfair or even downright obtrusive to some – after all, they’ve invested a lot of money, time and resources into making this event an exciting experience for all countries involved as well as making this a win for their country, only to be continually criticized. As for you? You can bet your последний доллар (that’s Russian for “bottom dollar”) you’ll be scrutinized with the same intensity. So get it together, think about what you’re doing and start focusing on realistic excellence instead of outrageously impossible achievements.

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