Your career is a defining element in your life – whether you’ve worked at the same job for several decades, recently retrained, or bounced around several different occupations. It is easy to become hung up on money, office politics and ‘the good old days,’ but there are some universal truths and tips about your career to remember.
Think of the tortoise and the hare – a good career is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re always rushing towards the next goal, you may miss the very real satisfaction of what you have achieved already. Rushing leaves you empty and tired. Good things will come if you work hard and allow yourself time to get good at things. Experts in their fields agree that it takes about 10,000 hours practice to really master it.
Enjoy what you do and persevere. The rewards will come.
Keep your priorities straight – every time you tell your family you are ‘too busy,’ and miss out on a milestone, work may seem important at the time. However, think back – the last time you were too busy to attend a school performance or a sports game – chances are you remember what you missed, not what you did instead. It is well accepted that nobody laments on their death bed that they didn’t spend enough time at the office. Never work so hard that you miss the important things or the important people.
Your children and grandchildren are only young for such a short time, and they need and want you to be around. Be confident enough in your skills, commitment and passion – your career won’t screech to a halt for the sake of a few extra hours with your family.
When you are at work though, focus – recruiters agree that those who act like they are 35 at the office, do the best in their career. They are neither a wide-eyed novice, nor tired and jaded. Always strive to be smart and competent, and step up and do whatever you are capable of doing to the best of your ability.
Use both your ears – individuals don’t have all the answers – as a group we are far more powerful, particularly at work. Genuinely collaborate and really listen to the opinions of others to create a great working environment.
If you are a manager, ask your own people first about changes and improvements before bringing in outside experts. In many cases, your own people already know the answers.
If you work for someone else – don’t settle for bad treatment – life is too short to tolerate disrespect and rudeness. Sack the bad boss by leaving, or finding a way to ‘manage’ them. It is fine to have a finite emotional capacity and never sacrifice your personal ethics for a work reason.