A great Linkedin career advice post from Shane Rodgers appeared on my Facebook feed this morning. Although it is titled advice for 25 year olds I think it rings true for all ages and all careers.
The full post is here but I have extracted a few I particularly liked:
A career is a marathon, not a sprint
Chill. When we are younger we tend to be impatient...
Most success comes from repetition, not new things
...The lesson here is to get good at things before you try to move to the next thing. Genuine expertise belongs to an elite few. They seldom have superpowers. They usually have endurance, patience and take a long-term view. They also love what they do. If your find that, don’t let it go.
Deprioritise your career when your kids are young
If you have skills, commitment and passion, careers tend to take care of themselves. Over the long haul, it really doesn’t matter if you have a few years when your career is in canter mode while you prioritise young children. This should apply to men and women... Childhood is fleeting. When it is in its formative stages, you get one chance.
[I don't necessarily agree with the term 'deprioritising' your career - I think that denotes something negative. I think career and family responsibilities can be equal priorities if that is what you want. The reality is though you can't be in two places at one time so of course there will constantly be difficult choices to make. So for working parents there are adjustments to be made and expectations to be managed in the workplace and at home]
In the workforce, always act like you are 35
A recruiter gave me this advice some years ago. It is quite inspired. What she meant was, when you are young in the workplace, don’t act as a novice. If you are smart and competent, step up and do whatever you are capable of doing in a mature way. Similarly, when you are an older worker, don’t act like it. Approach your day with youthful energy...
Management is about people, not things
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all people are equal, behave the same every day and have a generic capacity to perform. Humans are simply not made like that. Business guru Jack Welsh says the workforce consists of 20 per cent of people who are high performers, 10 per cent that you should get rid of and 70 per cent who do okay. The problem is the 70 per cent. Most managers want everyone in the 20 per cent. We need to be careful not to believe that the 70 per cent are underperformers. Sometimes we need to celebrate the competence of the masses not the superpowers of the elite. As managers, we are not managing things, we are empowering people and making the best use of whatever it is they bring to the table.
Genuinely listen to others
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have all the answers as individuals. We don’t. As a group we are far more powerful. We need to learn to genuinely collaborate and really listen to the opinions of others. And we need to ask our own people first...
Don’t just network with people your own age
Beware the whiz kid syndrome. Smart, young people have a habit of forming communities of other smart young people and feeding off each other’s energy. In the older world they are seen as “bright young things” that give confidence that the future is in good hands. Argghhhh. How many times have you heard that? Youth enclaves can actually be restrictive. Smart 20-somethings should make sure they network with older people too. In fact their networking should be about meeting useful mentors and career champions who can open doors and fast track careers. Similarly, older, successful people shouldn’t just sit in musty clubs talking about the 1970s. They should be proactively seeking out smart, young people who can shake them out of their comfort zone and open their eyes to new ideas.
Don’t put off working overseas
Geography is becoming less relevant. We are all citizens of the world... If you get the chance to work overseas, and you aspire to do that, take it. There is never a right time. And we always regret the things we don’t do far more than the things we do.
Work in an office where you have friends
You will spend a lot of time at work. You should work with people you like... The happiest people are those who do things they are passionate about with people they really like. Further to that, if you find you have taken on a job you hate, ditch it quickly. Your career can survive a few well-intentioned detours and mistaken pathways.
Never sacrifice personal ethics for a work reason
Crucial to workplace happiness is value alignment. If you work somewhere that compromises your personal ethics and values, get out of there as quickly as you can. Good people will be unnerved by things that don’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Bad things only manifest when good people don’t take a stand.
Recognise that failure is learning
As bizarre as it might sound, failing is not failure. Researchers recognise that failure is just part of a process to eliminate unsuccessful options... If we fear failure we tend to take a minimalist approach to our jobs and the opportunities around us. Takes some risks. Sometimes failing spectacularly is the best evidence that we are alive, human and serious about aspiring to the extraordinary. There is no value in being ordinary when you have the capacity to be remarkable.