Career Guide

General Career Advice

I am totally stealing this from a share on LinkedIn, but it resonates with me completely.

  • Making bad strategic decisions rarely hurt you for long. Choosing bad personal associations will hurt you for years.
  • Money can buy happiness. Save as much as you can.
  • Work harder, not smarter. Until you learn to work hard, “working smart” is a pablum for the lazy.
  • You won’t be ready for the promotion. Take it anyway.
  • Never work for dumb people. Ever.
  • If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re the dumbest person in the room.
  • Learn the difference between earned success and survivorship bias.
  • You can’t find the line until you cross it. Once you cross it, never cross it again.
  • Privilege is real. If you have it, give some of it away. If you don’t have it, take it.
  • If you’re perpetually embarrassed about who you were ten years ago, good job, you’re becoming wise.
  • It is always better to act than to be acted upon
  • You will never get everything done in one day. If you do, then you aren’t thinking big enough.

Lastly, 99% of us will find the most joy outside of our careers. Focus more on your life journey than your career journey. Everything else works itself out.

Be where you are appreciated

I love this story about an old pocket watch. There are many versions, but this is the one I feel captures it.

A dying father called his son to his bedside and presented him with an old pocket watch. The father said, “Your grandfather gave this watch to me. It is more than 200 years old. But, before I give it to you, I want you to go to the watch shop and tell the owner you want to sell it. Ask him what price he would pay for it.”

The son went to the watch shop and then returned to his father’s bedside. He reported, “The watchmaker said he would pay $5 for the watch because it is old and scratched.”

The father then said to the son, “Go to the coffee shop and ask the owner if he would be interested in buying the pocket watch and what he would be willing to pay.”

The son ran to the coffee shop and quickly returned. He told his father, “The coffee shop owner said he didn’t have much use for an old pocket watch but offered $3 for it.”

Finally, the father told the son, “Go to the museum and show them the watch.”

The son left for the museum and returned with a look of astonishment on his face. He whispered, “Father, the curator at the museum offered me $1 million for this pocket watch!”

The father laid his head back, closed his eyes and said: “I wanted you to experience for yourself that the right place, and the right people, will value your value in the right way. Never put yourself in the wrong place, with the wrong people, and then get angry when you don’t feel valued. Don’t stay in a place, or with people, that don’t value your value. Know your worth and while being confident in your own value look for the value and the potential worth of others.”

Source: Boyd Matheson, Op Ed, Desert News

Transitions and Pivots

When looking to make move in your career, there are four factors to consider:

  1. Function
  2. Company
  3. Industry
  4. Location

You will have an easier time pivoting on as few of these as possible to make a move. Doing all four could be overwhelming. You should use the experience you have in one or all of these areas as a linchpin for your next move. Use one or more to strengthen your case as to why you are a good fit for a role.