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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 August 20, 2019

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

    You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

    Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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    4. Show Initiative

    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

    7. Find a Mentor

    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

    Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

    The Bottom Line

    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

    “Half of life is showing up.”

    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

    Remember, your career is your business!

    More About Continuous Growth

    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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