Universal career advice
I am now 37 years old and it's only been a few years since I feel I am working the way I like, with people I like, toward goals that are meaningful to me. I am picky and I want the best for myself. Without entering into the specifics of my job and lifestyle, here is some advice I built for myself over the years, and wish I had when I was 16. I think it applies to most people.
Learn about your needs
- Figure out whether you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. Learn how to take advantage of it. Learn to identify this trait in other people and use it for better communication.
- Who needs to attend school? You do, and it has nothing to do with how intelligent you think you are. Choose a school that will teach you what you need the most. Favor better teaching over prestige. Use the opportunity to live in another place and in another culture, possibly another country. Take advantage of free, high-quality online classes. Favor classes that teach you core knowledge that you won't be able to learn properly on the job later.
- Who needs a job? You probably do, but don't do it for your parents. Produce the best contribution to society and the job problem will solve itself naturally with a gentle push.
- Money vastly contributes to freedom, but is not all. Do not be extreme about money in one direction or another.
- To get an idea of which job might be better for you, rate each job for Fun, Income, and Skills to form a total of up to 30 points:
- Fun (10 points): How enjoyable is it going to be to work like this for the next 10 years?
- Income (10 points): How well does it pay?
- Skills (10 points): How good at this job am I going to be, in comparison to my peers and to jobseekers?
Optimize your attitude
- Learn how to communicate well. It matters for all professions. It's about being well understood by your colleagues, partners, and customers. Keep it simple, overcommunicate rather than undercommunicate.
- Be honest and direct. That will save time.
- Everyone has some intelligence. Successful people are not the most intelligent but those who use their intelligence for the most critical decisions. This will take some boldness.
- Use your intuition to form ideas, but validate them with facts before making a decision. Eliminate wishful thinking, it doesn't work.
- Acknowledge your emotions and divert them into constructive forces. When angry, excuse yourself and postpone the conversation until you're calm and rational again. When happy, work harder.
- Always listen, never obey. You can learn things from most people around you, but it can be very indirect, they can be plain wrong, or worse, all the people you talk to may be wrong about the same thing. You often can learn more from your enemy or from strangers than from your close friends or relatives; use that to your advantage.
Move into the best environment
- Surround yourself with inspiring people.
- Surround yourself with people of diverse backgrounds you can learn from.
- Surround yourself with people who care about you.
- Do not expect luck. Learn to detect opportunities and seize them.
Take care of yourself
- Pace yourself. Adopt a physical routine once a week every week for the rest of your life. Let others know that it is part of your lifestyle.
- Don't stress over things you don't even need. Learn to do with less, it's simpler and faster.
- Keep learning, it'll keep you young.