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Thursday, October 30, 2014

113. What is some good career advice you'd give yourself years ago?

What is some good career advice you’d like to have told yourself 5, 10, 20, 30 or more years ago?

Based on my experience these are some of the things I’d tell myself from what I’ve learned, read, or heard over the years. I’m still learning so this list is not exhaustive. 

Hopefully, if you are just starting out in your career or know someone who is these will be beneficial guidelines for you.

1. More in less out. Spend less than you make! Let your income determine your lifestyle instead of the other way around. Carefully consider your options before spending pay increases, bonuses, or taking on debt as your income level increases. Yes, I’m talking about buying a brand new car, boat, motorcycle, condo, or house.

2. Pay yourself first. Ensure that you are saving for emergencies, retirement, and purchases in every paycheck. A strong cash position is a good way to avoid using credit cards when Murphy comes knocking as the car breaks down, the roof needs to be repaired, and the refrigerator needs to be replaced.

3. Network and build lasting relationships. You’ve heard the phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know”?

4. Help people. Be a team player. Be reliable. Become an expert in your field. Be the person people turn to when they have questions.

5. Expect to and allow yourself to fail. Failure is natural a part of life. You cannot be perfect. Failure is an opportunity to learn. Failure is not unusual. When you fail it will be because you were brave enough to take a risk. Don't allow fear to rule your life. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and face the next challenge! 

6. Check your attitude. We cannot control many times what happens to us. However, we CAN control how we react to things. Try to have a good attitude. Your attitude toward your job will often lead to greater opportunities or ruin your chances of career advancement.

7. Put your best foot forward. Make it your goal to be the best at what you do. Give it 100% of your effort. Hold nothing back.

8. Understand your motivation. The job that has the best pay isn’t always the best choice. Consider the work environment, your direct supervisor, and other benefits when evaluating career moves.

9. Prioritize personal grooming. People make snap decisions based on appearance. Make looking nice and presentable a priority. I originally was going to say this to guys primarily but in the last few weeks I guess I'd encourage girls in the same manner. Avoid tattoos that can’t be covered with everyday clothing. Do not get tattoos on your face.

10. Keep your personal life private at work. Keep others’ lives private. Don’t be the company or office gossip. Don’t be the company or office drama king/queen. Follow the old saying: “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”

11. Do the little things: Come to work with a smile. Be on time every day. Stay extra if needed. Don’t complain.

12. If you work in any medical field avoid strong perfumes or smoking. Perfumes could aggravate patients further. Smoking as a health care worker is a huge turnover to any advice you might give patients.

13. Be honest. Never fudge even on a penny. Learn from your mistakes. Avoid making the same mistakes. Own up to your mistakes as soon as possible. 

14. Protect your immediate supervisor. Keep them in the know on your projects. Particularly, projects that are very hot. One of the worst things that a supervisor has to say is “I don’t know” to his or her superior.

15. Never stop learning. Economies, technology, cultures, laws, and people change constantly. Learn either through on-going education through self-study or educational institutions.

16. Not everyone gets to do what they love for a living. Work is not always enjoyable. You may take some jobs along your career path just to pay the bills. If at all possible try to find jobs that fit with your skill set and personality. Work can be fulfilling but don't make it the only thing that fulfills you. 

17. Don’t burn bridges. While having it out with a co-worker may feel good in the moment keep in mind you may be working with said person for a very long time. You may even end up working for said person. Consider instead seeking clarification and talking face-to-face with the person. A lot of communication is done through body language and tone.

18. Be humble. From my own experience I know the tendency is to approach life with a “everyone else is dumb” mentality. Remember if you’re a recent graduate, a new employee, and young that people have likely done this job longer than you. Try to see people as assets to the company instead of determining their worth by your perception of their worth. Age and experience can be very valuable assets in the workplace.

19. Be generous. When you can help someone out give to them no strings attached. You can't take anything with you anyway. Give to the poor and needy. Make every day count.  

20. Prioritize faith & family over work. This is a tough one. No matter how much success you have at the company or office your faith is priceless. Don’t neglect it. Prioritize it. Family should also come before work advancement. Remember your spouse and your wife are changing as well. Don’t miss out on their lives because of a promotion, hobby, or increase in pay. 

What have you learned? What do you think? Leave a comment!


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