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7 Life Lessons Older People Want You To Have For Career

7 Life Lessons Older People Want You To Have For Career

With age comes the wisdom of experience. I worked throughout corporate America before embarking on a successful career as a freelance writer. Along the way, I’ve had successes and failures. Here are 7 life lessons I learned from working that I hope will help you overcome any obstacles in your career path:

1. Choose an Occupation You Enjoy

When we’re younger, everyone hears the advice to follow their dreams. The problem is many people don’t understand how to do that. We end up graduating from college expecting a career to unfold for us without understanding the reality of the situation. You can have all the skills and talent in the world, but how you apply them and how hard you’re willing to work will determine your success.

There’s a possibility you’ll be an actor, rapper, athlete, etc., so don’t listen to people who tell you to give up on your dreams. People who don’t make it in the entertainment industry fail because they didn’t put in the work. If you suck at something, research how to get better at it online and implement that knowledge into your practice routine.

Networking is a vital component of success. When you work at a job you don’t like, you’ll be less likely to socialize with your colleagues. We’ve all heard people say, “I’m here to work, not make friends.” That’s cool. Plenty of worker bees keep their heads down while they work, and I’m sure someone successful will hire you one day…

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2. Even a Temp Job Deserves Your Best Effort

It’s not uncommon in the workplace to meet people who are working their “secondary career.” The guy sitting in the cubicle next to you may look like just another low-level, data-entry schmuck, but he’s actually a secret agent. The mailroom clerk is an aspiring rock star, and your supervisor sells candles and timeshares for some pyramid scheme. Everyone’s going somewhere else besides where they are.

Your retail job may be a stop along the way to fortune, or some unexpected life event may force you to stay (or even worse – come back) to that dead-end job. A customer you help may end up being a valuable contact in your desired career. You may meet the love of your life or have an epiphany. Just because you’re not going to be working there forever doesn’t mean you should slack off.

Always put forth your best effort, and be the best person you can be. You may hate your McJob, but a lot of fat and lazy people need you to provide them with clean, quick, and edible food so they can get back to their own McCareer. Stop thinking of yourself and put a little effort into contributing to the human race. No job is beneath you. So shut up, clean a toilet, change a diaper, mop a floor, dig a ditch, fix a car, wash a dish, wash your hands, take my money, and serve me my meal, turbo. I work hard for what I have.

3. Money Is Overrated

Everyone wants money – everyone needs money. Cash doesn’t rule a damn thing around me, though. Despite what your parents may tell you, dreaming is important. Rather than focusing on how much money you’re making for your time, focus on doing what you love. When you’re happy, it won’t feel like work, and the progress will seem to happen almost automatically. Following your dreams instead of the money will make you more money in the long run, and you’ll have a smile on your face much more often.

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Understand that most people are exaggerating what they have. Millions of Americans lose their homes and jobs, but I never seem to meet any of them. When you talk to people on the streets, they’re all the one person in the entire world who hasn’t noticed any change with the economy. Money’s tight, but I’m fine. I can assure you all of these people are in debt.

So if money can’t buy happiness, how can you get happy? Discover: 20 Definitions of Happiness You Need to Know

4. Learn How to Utilize the Internet

The internet is a valuable resource; everyone has it in their hands. Being internet-savvy (and computer-savvy in general) makes you a valuable resource in the business world. If you’re searching for a job, computer skills sell.

One of the most valuable business-related internet skills I learned is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the science of link-building. By strategically placing links throughout the internet, I’ve learned how to manipulate search rankings for different terms. With everyone having an internet-access device in their hands (in the form of smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.), knowing how to drive traffic is a valuable skill.

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The internet is like a car – people know how to drive, but they don’t often understand the engine nor the companies designing each individual part. Knowing this structure made me resourceful enough to survive the bank’s retaliation machines.

5. Don’t Give Up on Your Passion

Things are going to get difficult, regardless of which path you choose to walk. Nobody’s life is easy: we all have issues. When you fail, get back up and start working even harder. Learn something from the experience and come back that much stronger.

People are going to doubt you when you tell them your plans – keep working…

People are going to ask you to come out and play – keep working…

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People are going to act like they’re better than you – keep working…

You’ll eventually succeed, but that doesn’t matter. On the journey, you’ll realize you’re already living your dreams, and you’ll feel like you already succeeded. At the end of our lives, we only have our memories, and yours will be happy.

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    6. You Can’t Avoid Politics

    No matter how much you hate playing office games, you’re going to have to play the game sooner or later in life; that’s the only way you’ll ever win. There’s simply not enough success for everyone, so as much as you grab, someone’s going to come along sooner or later to take it from you; that’s just how the world works.

    If you don’t like playing politics, get used to mediocrity, and be very vigilant in saving money. You’ll need enough to cover at least a year’s worth of living. No matter how careful you are, you’re not working for yourself, and you’re not in control of your paycheck. Even the best salesman loses his job when the manufacturer goes bankrupt. I’ve lived on various rungs of the corporate, social, and economic ladders. Sometimes you have to let go and fall in order to climb up. Be prepared for that which is out of your control. It can, and will, happen to you.

    7. Making Plans Is Easy; Executing Them Isn’t

    Everyone has plans. Everyone has dreams. What separates those who do from those who don’t is taking action…

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    Published on September 16, 2020

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

    Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

    Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

    Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

    Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

    Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

    1. Organization

    When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

    When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

    Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

    To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

    To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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    2. Flexibility

    You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

    Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

    For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

    To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

    3. Collaboration

    As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

    Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

    To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

    To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

    4. Poise

    Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

    When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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    What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

    To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

    To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

    5. Communication

    Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

    When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

    To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

    To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

    6. Good Computer Hygiene

    Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

    Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

    To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

    To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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    7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

    Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

    Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

    To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

    To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

    8. Respecting Feedback

    In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

    Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

    To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

    To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

    9. Project Management

    Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

    To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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    10. Staying up to Speed

    Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

    To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

    To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

    11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

    “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

    To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

    To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

    12. Teamwork

    Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

    Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

    To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

    To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

    Final Thoughts

    Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

    More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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