Most of us give a lot of thought to managing our finances whether it be the household budget, managing the allocations within our IRAs, pension or profit-sharing plans, our personal bank and brokerage account balances or taking care of a rental property; this type of financial management is necessary. But have you considered that the lifetime earnings from your career may have as much or more potential for generating personal satisfaction and wealth than your other assets do?
First, an analogy for you: Every player who has been on an NFL roster is a professional football player, but only a handful will have great careers. Sadly, most NFL players will see their careers end within four years of their first training camp. On-the-field performance determines ultimate success. Realize getting your first job in your field of choice only means you have “made the roster.” So how can we make the big leap from making the roster to becoming a star?
Your first employer has put you on their company roster, but also knows your GPA may be deceptive. Employers know large amounts of high school and college course work is now done in groups or teams. This is so common employers know there is risk as to whether they’ve just hired the star of your many academic teams, a middle-of-the-road performer — or worse. As a result, many companies hire above their entry level needs and cut the under-performers as soon as they are identified.
So how can a young person manage their career in order to maximize their career potential? Whether you’re a business owner, or an employee, here are some tips that will help you successfully manage your investment in your career:
1. Become a life-long learner. Think of your new job as additional education, but instead of paying tuition you receive a salary. As a result, you should spend regular and significant amounts of your own time outside of the job “doing your homework” to increase your knowledge and skills.
2. Always perform at a high level. Treat everyone you contact during the day, from actual customers and clients, to your co-workers at all levels, and your supervisors as “your best customer.”
3. Provide value to your employer and customer. Always remember: the customer and your employer decide whether you are adding value.
4. Adhere to your ethical compass. Never compromise your ethics for your employer or for your customers. Over time your ethics will attract customers and clients with ethics compatible with your ethics.
5. Ask questions, but learn the answers. Your goal is to become the person in your career who does not need a more experienced person to regularly assist them. In fact, you want to become the person that other employees seek out for work related solutions.
6. Be productive. Get organized. Have purpose in what you do. Always plan your next day well.
7. Be a team player. Help teach co-workers, but don’t let the less experienced control your day.
8. Don’t believe everything you think. When work related things do not make sense to you, seek to understand what you do not know.
9. Focus like a lightning bolt. Recent studies indicate while multi-tasking is necessary it is also distracting and it is not as productive as finishing one task at a time.
10. Be a finisher. Nike’s tag line is “just do it” — not “just think about it” or “just talk about it.”
11. Strive for positivity. Be nice, smile and work hard. Avoid the disgruntled.
12. Make work your number one priority. When at work, turn off your phone. Avoid “drama” and other things that distract or don’t add value for customers or the company.
If you can find ways to incorporate some of these ideas in to your career then you’ll be on the way to successfully managing what just may be your biggest investment.
If you have other career tips to share I would love to hear them.
Photo Credit: ell brown