Today I thought I’d offer up a few gifts that, in a way, are a bit re-gifted: The very best business and career advice I’ve ever gotten. No matter your job, your career, or your goals, these gems should provide at least some wattage of a guiding light. They’ve served me well and I’m proud to pass them on to you.
Operate on a three-year plan.
Every three years, you should aim to be either moving up or moving out.
Moving up may mean a literal promotion, or it may mean getting a whole new set of skills and responsibilities, but it must involve growing. Moving out, of course, means moving on to a new company. Obviously, you may not make these happen in exactly three years, but it’s a good time frame to shoot for.
To get a promotion, start doing the job you want.
The very best way to get a promotion is to find out the responsibilities of and expectations for the role you want and just start doing them. Once you’ve been doing them for while (and your company depends on you to do them), you can go into your boss’ office with a very strong case for a promotion.
No one will take care of you, but you.
No matter how great your company or your boss is, their primary purposes are not to take care of you. Especially if you’ve been at a company for a while, it can be easy to get lulled into the idea that the company will take care of you or that they owe you something.
Cynical as this sounds, all that they owe you is your paycheck each week or two and whatever benefits they’ve promised. The company’s goals are to do whatever it takes to make the company successful. That may, or may not, be what it takes to make you successful.
Never, never stop looking out for yourself. Play fair and be forthright, but keep your own best interests in mind.
Never stop thinking about your next step.
You always have to be thinking about and planning for your next step in your career. Even if you plan to stay in a position for a while, you need to be thinking about what skills you can acquire there and how you can grow as a professional.
It’s easier than you think to get complacent and let several years go by before you realize it. Enjoy your current job and work hard at it, but always be planning for where you’d like to go and/or what you’d like to do next.
If you don’t like your job, fix it.
You spend way too much of your life in your job to be miserable at it. If you don’t like your job, you have two options: either find a way to make it better, or find a new one.
Everyone spends some time being unhappy with a job, but don’t be one of those people for whom work misery and complaining is a constant. Your job is often much more in your control than you realize: Make it better or make your exit.
Never stop growing.
There is always something new to learn, and constantly pursuing new skills and knowledge will help to keep you sharp and engaged—not to mention a hot commodity in the job market.
Each year at the very least, find a new set of information or skills you know little about and make it your goal to master it. Technology and business are changing and evolving at lightning speed; you can practically flip open a business magazine, point your finger and find a new topic to discover.
The more you learn, the more useful you are to your current and future employers—and the more you can charge for your services.
Your turn! What’s the best business advice you’ve ever gotten? Let us know in the comments below!