14 Career Lessons I Wish I Heard At 20

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Do you ever fear you will grow old without achieving the things you set out to do in your professional career? Countless people grow into a state of regret, wishing they could change something about their past. Don't be like these people. Don't live a life of regret - listen to these words of advice, and get the most out of your personal and professional life!

1) Do not work for people who do not respect you.

Most of us will experience this at one point or another in our professional lives. Our boss, or perhaps just some assistant supervisor, treating you or your co-workers with no respect. It is a complete waste of time and a huge mistake from the employer. They are paying you because you create value for their company and if they forget that, remind them. If it still happens, pack up your desk, and bid them goodbye. No one is forced to work for someone who treats their employees like servants.

2) Speak up for yourself and your co-workers.

This point is a natural extension of #1. If you are getting mistreated by your boss, your co-workers or even customers, stand up for yourself. Do not accept unfair treatment at your workplace, either for you or your co-workers. If you see anyone getting mistreated, unequally paid, or forced to work under unacceptable conditions, speak up and let it be known. You should always be able to raise concerns about unfair treatment. If you can't do that without the risk of being fired, your job is probably not worth holding on to in the first place.

3) A career is a marathon - not a sprint.

Your career is your entire working life. It encompasses all the companies you will ever work for. Most of us will go through at least 5 - 10 different employers during our career. Do not blow off all your energy at one time. You need to be able to sustain yourself until you’re ready to retire. Work smart and work hard, be persistent, but do not overburden yourself with tasks that you cannot sustain. This could lead to yourself becoming exhausted, and if you are particularly unfortunate, you may suffer from stress, depression, or other psychological setbacks.

4) Do not work in a company focused on office politics.

This lesson is something which can consume the attention of a company and all its employees. The focus of any company should be its product, process, and people. If too much attention goes into corporate bureaucracy, the product will become a secondary priority, the process will be forgotten, and the people (e.g. the staff and the customers) will be neglected. If you recognize that you are in such a company, pack your bags and head for the door - the company will fail, and they’ll take you along. If you are at the head of such a company, realize it now and start changing course. Only you have the power to control this.

5) People are your greatest assets.

This means real people - your co-workers, your employees, every one of them. A factory may be comprised of machinery worth millions of dollars, but it is the people who operate them that are truly irreplaceable. It is the education they have, the salary they get offered, and the time they get to spend with their families that make them productive and loyal people in the workplace. Do this right, and you will have an unstoppable workforce, willing to climb mountains for you and your company.

6) Do not accept dishonesty.

Not from your employees, not from your boss, not from anyone. If you catch an employee lying to you, unless there is a very good excuse, this employee will have to go. Dishonesty can arise from many things, but it almost always leads to disloyalty, which is something that can cost you or your company dearly. Get rid of it as soon as you see it!

7) Do not be afraid to try something new.

This is important no matter what step you are at on the corporate ladder. Don't be afraid to try innovative ideas, projects or products. If one of your employees working on the production floor comes to you with a new idea for optimized production efficiency, hear them out. If it turns out the idea might be worth trying, go for it! And don't forget to give the employee credit for bringing you the idea - this will encourage others to do the same.

8) Do not be worried.

About anything! Do not let worries consume your mind. Always keep a clear and constructive overview of your life, your career, or your company. Things will turn out great if you have your head in the game, and do what you can to make the best possible decisions. Being worried will only drain your energy and give you nothing to prepare for the next day. As soon as you feel a worried or anxious thought enter your mind, ask yourself why, identify the best possible solution, and then focus all of your effort towards that solution. Soon enough, that worry will be gone, and you will have created a positive solution to your problems.

9) Know your worth.

Be clear about what you expect from your boss, your co-workers and other professional relationships you make. Do not let people waste your time. If you are a freelancer, know what you expect to get paid for the work you are doing, and do not settle for any compromise. It will only lead to more compromise in the future, and will leave you feeling worthless. Know your worth, and let them know your price is not up for debate!

10) Do not be afraid of criticism.

Do not let your ego get in the way of criticism. Far too many people feel superior to others, which prevents them from receiving criticism that is designed to help them grow. These people will stagnate - they will not learn or discover new things about themselves, or their actions. Don't be one of these people. Accept criticism, whether it comes from your boss or the person sweeping the floor of the lobby. Remember that no one is perfect, and everyone has something valuable to contribute.

11) You are only as good as the people standing next to you.

The people you work with affect you in more than one way. If these people are lazy, dishonest, or unfriendly, chances are this behavior will spread to you. It will prevent you from elevating yourself to your maximum potential. In the same way, if the people you work with are smart, fast, and intelligent, chances are this will spread to you, too. Always do what you can to make sure that good and positive people surround you. It will help you grow both personally and professionally.

12) Never stop believing in yourself.

This one almost goes without saying. You are the most important character in your story. You are the hero, the one who will drive the story forward and achieve success. If anyone attempts to tell you otherwise, cast them aside. Never stop believing in yourself, and your power to achieve greatness and happiness in life.

13) Life is too short to be wasted.

If you are currently in a position where you feel like you are wasting your life, you should strongly consider making a change. This may sound like a cliché, but life is simply too short for that. You may need to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation now, to get to a new place in life that will give you more happiness. 

14) Your family is more important than your job.

That doesn't sound much like a career tip, does it? Well, there you have it. It is without a doubt the most important career tip that you will receive today. Your job may be important, but do not let it take priority over your family. Give it as much attention as you can, without compromising the valuable time you spend with the people you love. Giving priority to your family, relaxing, and enjoying their company will give you so much more stamina and energy to go out there and conquer your professional career the next day!

Did you find these lessons valuable? Let us know which one you think will have the greatest impact on your life by hitting up the comments below!

Posted 25 July, 2017

Ruchi Bhargava

Content Writing | Designing | Web Development

Hi! Are you looking for content that gets all the birds (read: customers) in one proverbial stone? Then I'm the person you need to talk to. After millions of words written for my clients, I can guarantee one thing: quality. When you're working with me, you'll get nothing short of perfect, well-researched, and enticing content. But that's not all I'm about. Along with creating custom cont...

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