10 Inconvenient Career Truths

29 Dec

After reading an article by Charlie Gilkey entitled “20 Inconvenient Business Truths,” I was inspired to post 10 Inconvenient Career Truths.  I often search for delicate, diplomatic words to share these inconvenient truths with students, friends and clients.  But sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

Remember the line in the movie A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!“???

Well I think you can.  So here’s the truth as I see it for new college grad or those who are otherwise career disturbed. And yes, I’ve been known to be direct. You can handle it.

  1. Your first job is not necessarily your forever job. Almost everyone starts somewhere and it may be at the bottom. Regardless of what you think you deserve, you might have to start at the bottom too. Get over it, just get started.
  2. It’s not enough to have good grades or even years of experience. Talent and skill only take you so far. You may get fired. You may be “forced out” for reasons beyond your control. Have a pity party then get busy searching for a new opportunity! Be eager, coachable, flexible, continuously learning and improving where ever you are.
  3. Work is not separate from the rest of your life. Body, career, spirit. I always say “because it’s all connected.” Pay attention to the quality of your health, your work and your faith. Not always easy, but necessary for healthy survival.
  4. Some really smart person once said,”There is no learning in the comfort zone and no comfort in the learning zone. ” Professional (and personal) growth require discomfort. Embrace it don’t fight it.
  5. If you’re unhappy with your career, change it. Stop asking for everyone’s opinion about  what you should do. You may run things past three honest advisors but ultimately you decide what to do or not. Bad career advice is everywhere. Stop listening.
  6. Almost every job has a trade-off. You’ll rarely get everything you want in one place. Sometimes you might have to work weekends or stay late without being paid for it. If you’re not willing to invest in a company or organization, why would they be willing to invest in you?
  7.  A successful job search may take anywhere from six months to one year. Most people give up on the search too quickly. Other factors that may slow down your search are: the economy, being stuck on one geographic location and poor interviewing skills. You need  to be flexible if you want to work and get help in areas you need to improve. Contact local job centers, your alma mater’s career service office for help.
  8. If you hate your job, co-workers or boss, it probably won’t get better with time. Sticking around because you’re afraid of change only digs you deeper into the rut. Leave. Now. It is best for everyone. Your boss and co-workers probably know you’re unhappy. You are making everyone else uncomfortable with your unhappiness.  Buh-Bye.
  9. Every company has that person who gets away with slacking off, taking all the credit, earning more than she deserves, micro-managing or is egotistical… blah, blah, blah. Stop talking about it and do your job or, see number eight.
  10. There is not just one “right” answer or  “perfect path” to career fulfillment. Everyone’s path is different; every destination unique. Most people change careers 3 to 7 times in their lives. That doesn’t mean you will. But if you do, fear not–it’s a chance to try new things. Keep going and growing.

Start 2012 with the truth. Even if it’s inconvenient. What are your career truths? Leave a comment here…

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