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2007s Career Dos and Don’ts

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By Tom Musbach

People in the public eye made big professional strides and damaging missteps during 2006, and we can all learn from their examples. Think of Katie Couric inspiring others with her ascension to the anchor chair at CBS News, or Mel Gibson offending fans and associates with his anti-Semitic comments.

Some other high-profile incidents from 2006, highlighted below, offer simple insights and reminders of what to do and not do on the job.

DO: Push yourself to advanced skill levels. Before 2006, France's Amelie Mauresmo was known as the world's best pro female tennis player who never won a major tournament. That changed when she won this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon, crushing public doubts about her ability to win under pressure.

"Success in this world, especially in really difficult professions like sports and the arts, is based on two things: talent and persistence. Without the latter, the former won't do you any good," says Alexandra Levit, a career consultant and author of "They Don't Teach Corporate in College." "If you have a dream, always keep it in your mind's eye, and outline mini-goals to achieve that dream one step at a time."

DON'T: Compromise your ethical judgment. Former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced in October to 24 years in prison after being convicted on 19 counts of defrauding investors.

"If you're lacking in the ethics department, you have no place doing business -- with anyone," says Debra Davenport, a master professional mentor, licensed career counselor, and employment agent.

DO: Stick to your values. Meredith Vieira stepped off the fast track as a "60 Minutes" correspondent 15 years ago to take care of her family, but her commitment did not derail her career. This year she became co-anchor of the top-rated "Today" show on NBC, a job which allows her to spend afternoons with her family.

"Work-life balance encompasses family values and self-care," says Davenport. "Sometimes we have to 'just say no' to work and feel confident in our decision to focus temporarily on our most important priorities. We're most productive when we're healthy and living in sync with our personal value system."

DON'T: Send inappropriate emails, IMs, or text messages to associates. Former Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, was forced to resign amid scandal caused by text messages he had sent to congressional pages.

"If you

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