Career Advice: Take It Or Leave It?

postcardHave you noticed the contrarian career advice that’s been circulating online lately? Advice like this that scrolled across my Twitter feed a few days ago–about ditching the traditional post-college big company career-launcher job for the thrill of the small and risky business. That business, the author states,  provides excellent opportunities for learning about yourself and thus cuts years off the hunt for ahem, your great work. That strategy worked well for the author and could certainly be just the right thing for others, but when I look back on the jobs that launched my career, I see those big company experiences as the ones that taught me how to navigate that world and show others how to do it, too.

I’m a big believer in following your passion and interests. If those interests lead you to a type of work or place to work, then go for it. Who knows what you’ll learn and how you might use it in the future. It may be the setting where you first learn you hate that kind of work. How will you know if you don’t try it?

The point is, if you are at an important juncture in your career, whether that’s just starting out, repositioning or heading in a new direction altogether, you’re probably searching for answers and yes, advice. Just be judicious in what you embrace. There are certain career truths that never change. In Steve Tobak’s article, “Want to Climb the Corporate Ladder? Ignore 99% of Career Advice,” the author reminds me (and I will remind you) that those that seek their career fortune in the world of big business (and anywhere else) and actually make it wherever they land, are those that are…

  • People that make things happen (in a good way).
  • Courageous risk takers.
  • Employees that get things done.
  • Innovators.
  • Those who speak their mind, tell it like it is, and do the right thing, even when that’s unpopular or the consequences unpleasant.
  • Team players who are driven to win.
  • People that hold themselves and others accountable.

I want to add one that is missing, IMO and that’s attitude. I like to tell clients, and anyone else who will listen, that attitude is more important than experience. A good attitude will take you through some pretty rough terrain. I know first hand as the person who did the hiring and the one who was, on occasion, the hire-ee.

Until next time,