There are plenty of web sites with inspiring talks from great and succesfull managers and tons of books about career strategy. Steve Jobs quotes are almost everywhere and there are TV formats like “The Apprentice”.
You may think I have not titles for adding my 2 cents on this subject, and that suggestion should come only from those who really made it to succeed, their secret for success.
Well, if it’s a secret, why would they share it with you?
Those who really had (or are having) a succesful career are living on a small beautiful island that had been extremely hard to reach.
They deserve to stay, because to get there it has taken and takes a lot.
In order to remain on such a beautiful island, there must be some “screening” at the entrance as it tends to be quite a crowded place.
All the things I am about to mention here below have been (or unfortunately sometimes still are) my mistakes.
I really wish you from the deep of my heart that you can be better than me.
For some people it comes natural; they are already on the island or about to go. All the others are the so called “emotional guys”.
They are all good guys, but stuck in a long endless queue to the island.
1) Do not share private personal emotions or information with anyone in the company you work for, either colleagues or managers. It’s the most difficult thing to do, especially if you worked with same people for a long time.
If you feel you can’t wait saying something, stand up and leave immediately the room, find a place where you can stay alone and breathe normally. Then try to imagine the situation as if one hour has passed and you did not say anything. Better, isn’t? If situation is critical it may be necessary to go home.
The ability to visualize a future where you behaved differently from what your insticts would drive you is an essential characteristics of island residents. Make it yours.
2) Never ever talk to your wife or friends about problems you may have at work. You will become insufferable and this may affect the serendipity of the most important safenet you have to protect. Even force, in case you are wrong or decide to behave differently you may need to justify it to a circle of people that should not really be inside such issues. It’s incredibly difficult to do that, but any issue or frustration you may have at work must remain out of your private life. You may reduce the time you spend with family, you may work at home after dinner, but when you really are with your relatives or friends your mind must be 100% present with them. It’s the only way for your mind to really recharge and get back to work stronger, but most of all it’s the only way to preserve your private life. People who succeeded in their career achieving their dreams, have a great private life too.
3) Under any circumstances do not talk in a negative way about your colleagues, or managers, or customers, or partners. Even more important, do not exaggerate something that did not really happen the way you are saying (but may sound pathetich enough to put people on your side if you change it a little bit).
If it happens, try to talk with someone totally disconnected from your private life or your family circle if you can. Eventually look for a therapist for that.
4) Let things happen, let things move on. While they move on, try to correct their path if you can, but never try to stop them.
If a manager proposes you a change, show yourself immediately interested since the very beginning. Even if he says you have time to think about it and that you are not supposed to answer immediately, he is lying. Tell yourself “change is good”, smile and say simply “thank you” (which is an “I accept” without saying it).
Trying to think about pros and cons is a waste of time. You do no have all the information and you never will. Resisting the change is useless effort.
If you say “let me think about it a couple of days” and they tell you “of course”, you are already doomed. They will never ask you again and they will decide elsewhere. Even worse, you will never be considered anymore for anything (if you are lucky). In the worst case your apparent safe zone will start crashing down piece by piece until you will come to desire what they proposed you. That will be the moment you will see some of your colleagues taking that role.
5) Never talk to your customers about even the minimal issue that you are experiencing in your company or life. Customers associate you with the product you sell and that they are planning to buy. If you express a stomachache, it will be as if your equipment is suffering of the same.
As for your self career it works the same. Anytime you do not look in perfect shape, it is like showing something people do not really like to see. It’s not important you are always on top and happy, you simply have to appear as if it was.
6) Here something difficult again. When you fail something, you will be told that you should have asked for help and that being able to ask for help is not only honorable but a positive attitude. Bullshit. Ask for the less you can, and when someone helps you make sure that you return the favour and be sincerely greatful to him, as this is really rare.
7) Never ever look into job offer websites or accept job interviews unless you have not really taken the final decision that your current experience is over. If you still wish to stay where you are, invest that time and energy assessing what’s going wrong and try to improve it.
If you are not living a successful career experience, remember that in the end it’s nobody but your fault.
Before looking for a change, check what you are not doing properly.
Again, do not ask your manager or collegues how you should improve. Do not ask your wife or best friend either. Find someone living in a distant galaxy not having any point of contacts with you.