Why is Everyone Honking

DC TrafficIn less than six hours in DC I had a realization – there is a lot of honking going on here.

It did not matter where I was, walking or driving, there was a lot of honking.  The first couple of times I jumped and looked around, thinking I was perhaps jaywalking and they were taking that very seriously.  Even when driving I made sure I signaled, took off when the light changed and yet, still a lot of honking.

I do not think that I got honked at, but I started to try to figure out who was honking and why.  I am not used to all this honking.  The thing is, I could never figure it out, on either count.  Lots and lots of honking but no change in movement or traffic patterns.  Just honking.

I think people were honking just to be honking.  As though there used to be a reason to honk, but there is not anymore yet they got so used to honking that they just cannot help themselves from honking.  It is a honking explosion in our nation’s capital.

When I lead workshops I hear a lot of honking.

My job is not going anywhere, I do not like where I am, I want another opportunity, it is time for me to leave – a lot of honking to wanting to move on in a career or job.  But no movement.

We get used to honking about our jobs.  There are a couple of types of honking – the long, annoying ones and the short tap-tap honks.

They don’t appreciate me, they are holding me back, my coworkers are lazy or get all the credit, my boss is a jerk – those are the bad honks.  The honks that are long and laid out there as soon as the light turns green before you can even move your foot from the break.

People ignore those honks and quite frankly cringe when hearing them.  You are putting a wall around you with those honks not only alienating yourself at work, but with your network.

The short tap-tap honks are the polite “just a friendly reminder the light is green” honks.  These are the I want to get another position, but I am afraid to leave or try; I do not have the chance to grow in this position or company, my job is being merged into another and it is no longer satisfying.  These are the “I really want to change lanes but am stuck” honks.

When people hear you give these tap-taps they are probably encouraging.  Listen to them.  It is what you need.  If you do not head someone offering advice or assistance those tap-taps turn into long, annoying honks that no one will listen to any more.

The bottom line is this: we get used to honking so if you are looking for encouragement do not honk about it, just ask.  People will wave you into their lane if you just put your signal on and follow the road safety rules.  The honkers are not happy drivers, be a happy driver – stop honking and go after that new job or opportunity!


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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.


Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

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