Career advice I wish someone had given me when I started

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“It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser to learn from others,”

~ Zen proverb

I’ve had a long career journey. And during that journey, I’ve learned a lot of stuff. Many lessons, which, I wish someone was there to tell me.

So, I figured, why not share those lessons with others so that at least someone could learn something from them. I just hope that you’ll find this post helpful and avoid these mistakes from happening in your career -

  • Not preparing yourself for corporate world

This applies to people who are just finishing college and about to embark their career journey. You see, career isn’t college. Here you won’t have quarterly exams to prove your mettle and keep you in the good books of teachers. In fact, it might take a while before your results speak for you. Don’t be surprised if that happens. The point is, when you’re just getting started with your career, you need to shift your perspective. All the things that worked to your advantage in college may not apply to your job as well. You may have to work long hours. You may not be able to take long breaks.

Unexpected things can happen. Your efforts may not reap instant results. You may not get the expected hike in salary. Before you know, your set of responsibilities is change. That’s why, it’s important that you prepare yourself for the corporate world beforehand.

  • Being hesitant to ask

Learning is never a stand alone process. The growth of your career depends largely on how much you learn. We don’t realize it, but a lot of people contribute in our learning process.

So, if you want consistent learning, you need to ask questions, ask for help, for support. Reach out to colleagues, seniors, family, friends. You want to take on new responsibilities? Ask for it. Because, one thing is definite — if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Don’t think people can telepathically read your mind and give you what you’re looking for. You will have to come forth. A lot of us fear that asking questions will make us look stupid and incompetent. So, we conveniently choose to stay confined within our own world of knowledge.

If you want steady learning, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t let the ‘It will make me look stupid’ thinking hold you back.

  • Being in just for the money

That’s ok. In fact, I’m sure lot of people won’t listen to this advice. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. I understand it’s important for survival. I’m just saying that slaving yourself in a high-paying job that is not adding meaning to your career or life is not very sustainable. And if you choose money over self-growth — over doing something meaningful — soon you will find yourself stuck in a rut. You will curse yourself everyday for doing something that’s eating you from the inside. It won’t last long!

If you find that happening to yourself, the only solution is — change it. And the sooner, the better.

  • Getting too comfortable

The last thing any professional should ever want is — getting too comfortable in one place. This applies to life as well. Because, you never know what unpleasant surprises are waiting just around the corner. Things are highly uncertain. The company could suddenly start downsizing. Or, someone else could take over position, and stuff like that. This is not to be negative — just realistic. So, always be on your toes. But, don’t be fearful. Stick to the, ‘come what may, I’m ready for it’ philosophy.

  • Focusing more on self-image than results

A lot of people are more concerned about projecting an image of sincerity and hard work than actually working on good results. They think a sincere image will accelerate career growth. That may be partially true. But, it’s your actions and results that’ll finally do the talking. Because when results speak, nobody is able to ignore that language. Instead of focusing only on creating a sincere image, work on creating good results.

  • Hopping from one industry to other

Only fortunate people are able to find their calling without having to change a lot of industries. So, if you haven’t found that soul-satisfying job, definitely change your industry. But, at the same time, don’t keeping hopping from one industry to another. Because each industry is different. Each one has it’s own set of rules, dynamics, work style, etc. It requires a lot of moulding before you could adapt to one industry. So, give it some time. Let things run their course. You will find it in your heart when you’ve stumbled upon that job that’s meant just for you.

  • Shying away from listing your accomplishments

A lot of people shy away from telling their accomplishments thinking that it’s un-humble or something. I’m not saying that your become a narcissist. But, if you do accomplish something, let be it known. Don’t shy away from it. People are busy in their own worlds. No one has time to keep tabs on your accomplishments. No one will know what you’re worth, unless you tell them. Showing what your accomplished is important; not for your ego boost, but for your career growth. But, don’t go on taking credit for other people’s work. Because, sooner or later, truth reveals itself. Just stay true to yourself.

If you too have some life lessons or career lessons that you learned along the way, do share them. I am very much interested in gaining readers’ original insight.

Originally published at

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Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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