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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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    Last Updated on December 5, 2018

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

    We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

    How do they do it?

    By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

    1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

    There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

    If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

    2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

    Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

    According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

    Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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    3. Demand Learning from Your Team

    CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

    “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

    His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

    Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

    “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

    Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

    4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

    Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

    Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

    • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
    • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
    • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
    • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
    • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
    • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

    5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

    Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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    Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

    • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
    • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
    • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
    • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
    • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

      “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

    Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

    6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

    The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

    Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

    You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

    7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

    Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

    But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

    On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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    • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
    • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
    • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
    • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

    8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

    Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

    When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

    9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

    The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

    What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

    Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

    10. Empower Your Employees

    Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

    They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

    Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

    You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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    If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

    11. Nurture Your Company Culture

    Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

    Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

    However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

    Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

    Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

    Be a Leader, Not a Boss

    Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

    However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

    In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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