You Need a Cobbler For Your Career

I love shoes. I mean, I really love shoes. If I could have an Imelda Marcos-like collection, I would. And while I have this affinity for nice shoes and maybe spending a little too much on them, I also know the value of a good cobbler. No, not the peach or apple kind of cobbler. Although, there is nothing better than some apple cobbler a la mode. I’m talking about a shoe doctor. Your shoes are an investment and you need to take care of them. Your career is also an investment. You spend a lot of time and money on your shoes, but are you spending that time on your career? Before you decide your current job is done, take time to find someone or something that can revitalize your career. Find a career cobbler.

A cobbler takes a worn pair of shoes and refurbishes them. They can replace the soles, recondition the leather, and replace the laces, all at a fraction of the cost of buying a new pair. You get what you pay for with shoes. I’m a firm believer in this so I will spend a little bit more, ok, a lot more, on a pair of shoes. Because I know they will last and I’m obsessed about taking care of them. With some time, care, and nurturing, you can get many years out of a solid pair of shoes. Besides a cobbler and some great shoe conditioner, I make them last by using the cedar shoe trees and never wearing the same pair 2 days in a row.

I recently had a pair of shoes repaired. They’re a solid chukka. They are sensible, versatile, and a pair I’ve had for a few years. Last winter, I got stuck in a snow storm and the shoes had a lot of salt damage. You’ll know this when you see it. There’s a white ring around the shoes and this won’t come out or can’t be hidden by regular polish. There are some solutions out there as a do-it-yourself and vinegar can do the trick, but it’s a long process.

Anyway, I let these shoes sit over winter without doing anything about them. As a matter of fact, I almost forgot about them. It was only when I was thinking about getting another pair that I remembered them and decided to take them to my cobbler. While they were damaged from the salt, they also needed a new sole and heel replacement. I dropped them off on a Tuesday and they were ready on a Thursday. Just like that, I had what felt like a new pair of shoes. They also put a sole with some tread to give me a little more traction and longevity in the streets of Chicago. If you only knew how excited this made me.

There are times where you may feel run down or worn out with your career. Maybe you’ve had a rough patch with your co-workers are you feel you aren’t growing in your role. You feel it’s time for a change or a new job. Much like a worn pair of shoes, don’t just automatically think you need a new job.

Find someone you can talk to about your situation. This doesn’t have to be a mentor or some formal career advice program. If you have a good trusting relationship with your boss, go there first. Talk about your goals and visions for your life and your career. Map out all of the great things about your job and point out the worn soles or broken laces of it, too. And, give it a little time. If you don’t feel you can go to your boss, go to a friend or colleague in another department or company. Better yet, go to your trusty HR guy and he will be able to guide your way.

You should invest in your career much like you invest in other things your care about. While the easy way may be toss the career in the recycle bin and get a new one, taking the time to revitalize and explore ways to make your current job like new can be a wise investment.

Get some cedar trees for your career and find a great cobbler. And if you’re stuck, call me. I have some great recommendations and always love to talk about careers and shoes.


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