Practical career tips

By | November 21, 2007

You are always on your own. Even if you work for a big company, you will always be on your own. Companies aren’t people. They’re things and they don’t have feelings. If you are expecting the company to “take care of you” or “do the right thing”, you’ll be disappointed. There are no strong bonds in a company. No one cares more about your career than you do. Remember that, and don’t expect the company to take care of you.

Certain jobs fit certain people best. You do have special gifts that fit you for some, disqualify you for others. Take time to assess your skills, temperament and aptitude in depth.

Careers are short-term. Your present job can end anytime, even if you own the company! Therefore, think short term. Don’t take your present career for granted. Someone once described a consultant as a person who wakes up every morning unemployed. You should feel the same way. Wake up every morning feeling unemployed so that you’ll appreciate your present job more and figure out what you’re going to do next. Always have a “Plan B.”

It’s more important to be a “people person” than an “achievement-oriented person” who always wins at the cost of others. People skills are more important than technical skills. Even in technical jobs, you have to deal with someone. The average performer who is easier to get along with lasts longer in his job.

What you accomplish today will be your calling card tomorrow. Your accomplishments will determine your marketability. In marketing yourself, it’s the results that count. A soccer forward who scores in every game is easier to market than one who doesn’t. So make sure you’re contributing something substantial and measurable every day. And… make sure you keep a written record of your results, in case you forget!

Have time for love, happiness, friendship and yourself. Create your own space. It is just as important as your career. If career is everything in your life, you could be disappointed if your career is sidetracked.

The workplace is fun and challenging. It can also be cruel and heartless. It rewards effort and planning, but tends to punish indifference and lack of preparation. Those who don’t manage their careers – who just let things happen – often end up in painful, dead-end jobs and lifestyles.

Align yourself with winners. Hang around with winners. Success really does rub off from others. There’s no substitute for “knowing the right people,” and for “being in the right place at the right time.”

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