Early Career Advice

The Blue Sky Vision

Random Observation/Comment #247:  When a hobby becomes stale, the best way to handle it is to find take small steps to reinvigorate your passion towards it.  Take it one step at a time and it will come back.

There are four main things that I learned from the past 9 months of working.  I feel like not sharing it would be unfair for those just starting off.  I will keep the entry sweet and simple.

1.  Learn like a sponge. As with all new hires from college, you are cheap labor. They hired you because you are passionate and hard-working with a likable personality that had shined through in the interview.  Mentors teach you (at least in some way) because they feel that level of accomplishment in passing on useful information.  Managers are (in some ways) trained to cut you some slack and be patient with the learning curve. This is always the case, and before gaining experience, it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of your position by asking stupid questions and making mistakes.  Acting confident and knowing stuff is a plus, but acting like you know everything and dealing poorly with work politics is disastrous. However you approach it is in your own style, but just be sure to learn along the way.

2. Jump around and explore. A brilliant man once said (and probably still says this) “The world is your oyster.”  There are so many different opportunities in this world and it is in your best interest to continue learning about what is available.  A good job will keep you happy and lead you with a carrot while you continue to produce useful content.  A great career will keep you challenged and make you stretch your comfort level to learn new things. An amazing life will make you jump for joy to get to work and do what you love doing because you’re so damn good at it. Underlying idea is that you keep an open-mind because money doesn’t really matter.

3. Be realistic and be consistent with deliveries without burning out. Burning out is probably the worst things to happen to someone. It happened to me at Cooper once, and I needed a year and a half of “finding myself” to get back into it – well, I guess burning out wasn’t that bad.  Anyway, when you work 8-9 hours a day, there is a limit.  You can be a top performer and still walk around and make friends.  Actually – it’s probably more important to walk around and chat with people around you so people don’t think you make them look bad.  Office politics is crucial and it doesn’t hurt to take a lighter load. There’s always more work to be done, so even if you finish quickly, they’ll just pile more on top of you.

4. Work for someone you like. Before you know the answer to this, you need to know the person you work for. Go out for drinks and network with those around you. See them outside of the working light and just ask them about hobbies and career paths. Treat your co-workers like your friends and it will go a long way.  If you don’t respect your boss, then that bad taste in your mouth will just make life that much worse. Also remember that it’s difficult to be a manager and it should be a two-way system. You should talk to your boss (or bosses) on a daily basis and make sure they know you’re still: 1) alive and 2) happy.  If they see you smile and you really mean it, then it’s a good indication that you’re not looking for employment elsewhere.  It also doesn’t hurt to trust your mentors and speak to them frankly (in an appropriate way).  Mentors, in this new light, have always given me relevant advice (which may sometimes be useful).

The truth is that work should be fun. I’m too young to have stress. Keep your hobbies separate from work and stay active.  Do some restaurant reviewing and read a book.  Read my blog.

~See Lemons Jump into a Career

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