Career Advice I Would Give Myself If I Could Do It Over.

104774971I recently read a stimulating article, The Career Advice I wish I had at 25. The basic premise was one’s 50-year-old self advising the 25-year-old version. Sounds like the basis of a TV show, but I went with it because it was thought provoking. The big flaw is that most of us (me included) lack the wisdom of experience at age 25, and so the average 25-year-old is not receptive to the kind of advice that would really make a difference.

With that said, though I don’t agree on every item, I think there were several interesting ideas in the Career Advice article. So with that providing inspiration, here are 6 pieces of career advice I would have given myself.

1. Always be dependable

Always be the person others can count on in life and in business. This may result in an increased workload since the person you can count on becomes a “go to” person when things are rough. Get results. Don’t give excuses. And always operate with integrity.

2. Try to like everyone at some level

People like people who like them. So try to find some aspect of them you like, if possible.

3. Learn how to say “no”

You need to be able to graciously say no to those who ask you for time or money when you don’t want to. In order to say “yes” to the things that are important to you, you need to say “no” to the less/unimportant.

4. Work/life balance

I never got this right in my first 25 years in business. I get it now. This doesn’t mean don’t work hard. It means don’t overwork yourself every day, every week, every year. If you do overwork constantly, you’ll find yourself burnt out—or worse.

5. Do what you like

Notice I didn’t say “do what you love”, the oft quoted advice. Who really loves anything work related? But if on balance you like something keep with it.

6. Manage your career with a vision for the future

There will be a tough patch for the short term. An account you don’t like. A boss for a short while. A disappointing raise. Try to manage through for six months. If things don’t turn around, then consider exiting, but don’t be too hasty.

There’s nothing more important than managing your own brand. Be known as smart, likeable, dependable and a good person. Good qualities at all ages.

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