Career Advice to Help You Get Ahead & Feel Good About It
October 8, 2008
So what’s the secret to getting ahead at work? I asked my co-workers for their best career advice when I surveyed my peers for professional feedback as I left my last job. Here’s how I worded it:
“Please share one piece of advice that has been the most valuable for you in furthering your career and professional development. Make it your best career tip, the one that’s been most effective for you”.
I got an interesting mixture of tips ranging from work/life balance, to avoiding embarrassing mistakes, to acting like you know what you’re talking about when you’re in charge. I worked with a lot of these people for many years and for the most part they’re pretty smart and reasonable workers so check out the tips that have served them best in their career:
Be Honorable and Decent
I have always tried to do the honorable and decent thing. I’m not sure that it has helped my career in a tangible sense, but I am glad that I have done it even if it hasn’t.
If something goes wrong, it is better to confess and fix the problem than conceal the problem. The cover-up is almost always worse than the original problem.
It is much better to deliver bad news in advance than it is to deliver it by surprise at the last minute.
Take a Deep Breath & Pause
Take a few minutes before responding to anything. Read that email or listen to that voicemail several times before responding – especially if it is a high pressure/client sensitive situation. The initial reaction to a message may not be what the sender intended as well as you may find an alternative message you wish to convey and if you react quickly, you may miss the point or miscommunicate.
Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work
Don’t put your ALL in your work, share some with your LIFE. After being sick, it was very clear that jobs, projects, and other highly prioritized events in my life could vanish overnight. Your family, friends, and things you enjoy should get the best time and attention you’ve got.
Learn and Record
Ask lots of questions and take lots of notes!!
No matter what, there are only three ways to deal with a bad situation:
1. Talk to someone to see if you can change it;
2. Leave the situation;
3. If none of the above work, change your attitude.
When in a management position, you do not have to know the answer to everything. Be prepared to know how to get the answer.
Always Be Positive
always stay positive around your peers. a positive attitude, no matter how much you don’t like a situation, will go further is being successful, than you will ever get by following the crowd of people that bitch about how bad things are going….
If you can’t control it, worrying about it is a waste of time.
Learn the Rules
Procedure, procedure, procedure! Especially in Corporate America, you have to know how things get done. If you don’t know, ask. You have to know what the proper procedures are before you can know how to bend them without breaking them. And as a programmer, you will have to bend them sooner or later.
Put Family First
Don’t sacrifice family time for more pay and responsibility at work.
If you’ve gotten something out of the series of career tips I’ve been running over the last few weeks, click here to subscribe to Money Smart Life for more money tips and advice for a better life!
Have any career advice of your own that you’d like to share with everyone? Feel free to leave your tip in the comment section below.
All posts by Ben Edwards