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Career Advice? Get Back To Basics!

I was reading Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World, when I realized that Ghandi really knew how to give great career advice! Who thought that his virtues might also serve us well in our careers?

How often have you discovered that some level of cynicism has crept into your way of approaching your career, your work, your employer, or the way you react to life, in general? Every now and then, it’s nice to be reminded that the best approach to managing our career’s is the one that’s anchored by integrity, honesty, and sincerity. This may be the path of greatest resistence and consequently, and the road less taken, but at the end of the day, wouldn’t you prefer to like the person inside your skin?

Here’s how Ghandi’s Top 10 list of fundamentals apply to managing our careers:

1. First, change yourself.

What personal obstacles have been keeping you from moving ahead in your career? Take an honest look at how others see you in the workplace and decide if that is the sort of person you want to promote, mentor, or even have working with you? If you would rather not be that person, make some changes.

2. Remember that you are in control.

The way we react to obstacles is within our control alone, to manage. Is the cup half-full or half-empty? Don’t give away this control to someone who’s figured out how to push your buttons. Know where those buttons are and move them regularly … make them harder to find and better to operate!

3. Forgive, and let it go.

I love this line, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Your career is your means to whatever end you want it to bring. It may be part of your life but has it become your whole life? Let go of petty resentments and move on. Workplace relationships should evolve and, when they are challenging, their evolution can be put on fast-forward if we just move on ourselves!

4. Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.

Simple yet prophetic, isn’t it? It’s no different with career management than it is with Newton’s Law of Motion: Every action does have an equal and opposite reaction. This is the way the universe keeps itself in balance. Take actions that will move your career in a positive direction; that will move you farther away from where you are now.

5. Take care of this moment.

Focus on the present and where you want to put your next step. Even though setting goals is important, try not to hyper-focus on where you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Every step, one step at a time, got the tortoise over that finish line!

6. Remember, everyone is human!

This works well with #3 … we all make mistakes or we would be much more than human. If those mistakes are our own, we should all learn from the error of our ways but we don’t need to keep beating ourselves up! Learn, let go, and move on.

7. Persist.

Figure out what you really want to do and be patient, especially if you have to take baby steps to move your career in the direction you want it to go. Pushing too hard or giving in to nay-sayer comments are the enemies of persistence. Know where you want to go, be flexible, keep moving in a forward direction, and believe in yourself!

8. See the good in people and help them out.

Stengthen your social skills, if necessary. People who connect are people who can influence others. Once again, this requires sincerity so if you believe in yourself, your sincerity will come through. This skill will go far to help you interact with your professional network … you know, the people who can also open doors of opportunity for you.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, and be your true self!

People communicate what they’re about, even when the don’t say a word. Authentic people don’t have to worry about eye-contact, body language, voice tones, etc. Respect, honesty, integrity, virtue … these qualities come across loud and clear, especially through silence. Line the path you set to achieve your career goals with qualities that set you apart from the rest of the pack.

10. Continue to grow & evolve.

Today I think, one might say. “Continue to reinvent yourself, always.” Getting to one’s career goal should not be the end; it should be the basis for a new career goal. Ever evolving, ever improving. That’s the best career advice one can receive!

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Andrew Krzmarzick

These are excellent reminders, Doris…thank you for sharing.

Each of these could be a mantra for me…

Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachs

Two of the points really stand out to me. One (from point #3), you have to forgive and forget. We’ve all suffered wrongs in the workplace (overlooked for a promotion, didn’t get selected to attend a conference, the manager prefers others, etc.). Are you focused on what you can do, how you can contribute uniquely? At the same time, your job does not define in totality who you are or your value; remember to continue to develop interests, hobbies, and relationships outside of work. Work is important, but it takes on less value- its rightful value- when you give it 100% when you’re there and then give 100% to the soccer team, Sunday School class, or book club when you’re in those settings. On points #8 and #9, it reminds me of the saying, “Be sincere- even if you have to fake it!” People know authenticity; they can spot consistency. Are you treating your manager the same way you treat an entry-level employee? Are you seemingly pleasant at work but grumpy when you get home? Are you compliant and helpful at the office but demanding when in a restaurant or store? Depending on your answers, you may want to check your authenticity and consistency.

Doris Tirone

I couldn’t agree with you more, Jay & Savi. Careers define themselves by what we put into them. Authenticity is a difficult reality for most people to face but, if we do it early on in our careers, we can avoid (or minimize) the impact from that mid-life period for which we are all destined. Then, we don’t need to exert much effort to keep our careers moving in a preferred direction.

Rebecca Brown

Hi Doris-
I really enjoyed this article. #3 is very important, and I have learned to let things go or they will drive you crazy. #8 I am a believer in, You have to give to get back. It should be more about how can I help you then how can you help me. I enjoyed these reminders!

Doris Tirone

It looks like “Forgive, and let it go” is the most poplular fundamental element for many of us! I think I’ll post these reminders in my office … this could become a 10-Step Program for people facing mid-career crises!