I’ve been reading commencement speeches a little more than a week now that I thought it might be a ‘fun’ idea to put together the numerous career-related advice and comments I received over the years. Some are from my parents, some from my maternal grandmother, one or two from well-meaning friends, and many are from former bosses and mentors.
After jotting down everything I could remember, it’s immediately noticeable that I received the bulk of advice when I was just starting out, and they lessened gradually as I gained more work experience. Here they are in no particular order:
First 10 Years
• Stay away from office politics.
• Refrain from saying negative comments about colleagues. You’ll never know who’s listening.
• You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
• You’re not indispensable.
• Don’t burn bridges (when you resign).
• Don’t resign without another job waiting for you. (I disregarded this twice, and I survived both instances.)
• The customer is always right. (Unfortunately, there are exceptions to this rule.)
• Don’t bring your personal life into the office. Everyone else has his/ her own problems to deal with.
• Mind your manners.
• Your work is your prayer.
• Actually, you like being around messy people because it gives you the opportunity to tidy up. (Yes, this is a real comment!)
• Your voice is the only way people can gauge whether you’re welcoming or not. Always make sure you sound pleasant on the phone.
• Don’t take offense with the advice I’m giving you. You’ll never know at what point in your career you’ll need them.
• Always be several steps ahead of your boss.
• When you have the opportunity to grow, take it. Don’t feel sorry for leaving if it means doing something that will benefit your personal and professional growth.
• Take your vacation leaves. You’ll feel much better afterwards. (True!)
• Don’t just wish for things to happen. Do something about them!
Next 10 Years
• Dress the part.
• Your work will always speak for you.
• At least you’re just feeling the heat. Imagine what it’s like to be on fire! (This refers to when people feel bad when their bosses are in a foul mood. It could be that their bosses received a reprimanding from their higher-up. Think about that.)
• You can’t keep both hands closed. Otherwise, you’ll never receive the blessings/ lessons you’re meant to receive.
• So that’s it? You’re just going to take “no” for an answer?
• A good soldier goes where he is sent.
• Just because you’re a workaholic doesn’t necessarily mean you should be ‘chained’ to your table.
• There’s no such thing as teaching ‘part-time.’ Teaching is always a full-time profession.
• Don’t limit your career options. That’s how you’ll know what will work for you and what won’t.
• Don’t just hear. Listen!
• Manage your expectations. Not everyone will think or act the way you do.
• I can assure you, there’s life after [insert name of company here].
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long as you’re learning from them.
• Get out of your comfort zone.
• There comes a time when you’ll want to go to work not because of what you get out of it, but because of what you can contribute.
• You don’t have to stay in the same industry as when you first started working.
During the last couple of years, I’ve been reading up on how to transition to a second career because I’m considering whether to continue being a communication practitioner or to give in to a first love: creative arts.
I haven’t decided on anything yet; it’s not that easy. I did pick up this quote, though. It could help me on my journey: “Who knows what you could accomplish in life if you made more of the right choices along the way?”