James Garner’s Words of Wisdom for Your Career
What gal doesn’t love The Notebook, the movie inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ romantic novel? I just happened to be watching it this past weekend when I saw the news that “Duke”—actor James Garner—passed away at age 86.
Garner, as writer for The New York Times, Bruce Webber, pens, “was a genuine star but as an actor something of a paradox: a lantern-jawed, brawny athlete whose physical appeal was both enhanced and undercut by a disarming wit.”
The award-winning actor was most noted for his roles in “Maverick,” “The Rockford Files,” and a slew of films. He also received a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War.
So, to honor the legendary film star, I thought it’d be a great idea to apply some of Garner’s on-and-off-air wisdom to our many career pursuits. Below are five different scenarios many people encounter in the many stages of their careers—and how Garner’s wisdom over the years applies to each one:
1. The moment when you decide to forgo the traditional route, take a leap of faith and walk in the direction of your dreams—even though they go down an unconventional path.
James Garner’s word of wisdom: I didn’t want somebody in an office guiding my career. If I had a failure, I wanted it to be my failure. If I had a success, I wanted it to be my success.
2. You scramble through a 30-minute pre-employment test that is full of mathematical equations you haven’t seen since high school. The questions are timed, of course, and it seems like question after question slips by before you have enough time to solve the problem—yet, you still receive a callback for an interview.
James Garner’s words of wisdom: Science only goes so far and then comes God. (Duke, The Notebook)
3. You’ve negotiated a higher starting salary, but there’s one last thing—your schedule. You ask your soon-to-be manager about telecommuting options, to which he or she responds that there are none.
James Garner’s words of wisdom: Well, you can’t have everything. (Duke, The Notebook)
4. You’ve been at a new job for a few months now, but you still lack confidence. The workload is more than you anticipated and you question whether you can keep up. Are you talented enough? Is this really the right field for you? Will you ever reach your long-term career goals? If only your work/skills/abilities were like so-and-so’s, then you would be confident.
James Garner’s words of wisdom: When I started working, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, in that I was just wandering around, hoping that I could succeed. Then after I got a little under my belt, it took me about 25 years to feel like I knew what I was doing.
5. Your aha! moment when, after you’ve worked and worked and accomplished your goals, yet you look back at it all and realize what true success in life means.
James Garner’s words of wisdom: I am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but in one respect I’ve succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul and for me that has always been enough. (Duke, The Notebook)