How to Start a Career: An Adulting Guide

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If I had the chance to sit down and give myself some advice when I started my career, this is what I’d say:

Be Awesome At One Skill

Don’t try to go for everything, pace yourself and get really good at one, and pick up others as you go along.

The important skills in the world right now include (but not limited to):

a. Sales and Marketing

b. Programming

c. Product Design

d. Growth Marketing

e. Data Science Analysis & Machine Learning

Never Settle, Continue to Get Better

No other option in today’s world.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve learned at school or anywhere else. You want to be getting better and more so than your peers. Here’s one thing: there are winners and losers — no in between.

If you’re not winning, you’re loosing.

Your earned skilled is what will set you apart.

Here are some of my favorite resource for continuing education:

Make Your Work Highly Visible

Don’t let freeloaders take credit for your hard work, there will be plenty of them lurking around.

Talk about what you’re working on, invite others to work with you. Tout your horn — this is no place for humilty.

After all, if your bosses don’t know how much you’ve done, how will they know you’re the person for the credits.

Don’t hide.

Try Hard to Work at a Startup

Startups will force you to work hard, you want to learn how to work hard in the context of the workplace early.

As this point, don’t worry too much about salaries.

What you want is a place to make an impact.

It’s very rare that you’d be able to do this at bigger company.Not just that, your work will get noticed sooner, and you will be learning a life-long skill of “wearing many hats”.

If you have the choice, always take it.

Ask for More Work.

Once you start getting assigned more responsibility, it’s a sign that you’re getting noticed.

This is the time to double down on your hard work. When you’re assigned a task, don’t refuse because you don’t know how:

Learn. Remember point #2:

This is where you can use this is practice, an opportunity to take on newer challenges and overtake your peers.

Your advantage now might not be skill, but you have the time to hustle. Hustle now and often.

There are no shortcuts.

Teach to Learn. Learn to Teach

You will always be learning and to learn better, teach others what you’ve learnt.

Those blog post read, podcasts listened, books, everything, keep sharing.

Apart from solidifying you knowledge,very soon, you will be the go-to for finding solutions to problems. You know what that means, you’re becoming an authority.

Think about Point #1:

Grow to be a person of authority in your choosen skill.

Skip Office Politics and Never Bad-Mouth Anyone

You will find many wasting time. The try to find the best ass to kiss to m get ahead. Let your skill and hard work get you found.

For a while it might look like you not getting involved is slowing you down, you might want to bad-mouth someone to get ahead.

Don’t! You can’t win.

Don’t play a game you will loose. They’ve probably been there longer and have their politics all figured out. You will learn the hoops later, just not now.

Stay out of the politics, speak as positively as possible about everyone.

Don’t be Undersold. Ask for Fair Pay.

Blacks and women are the least paid in the workplace, chances are, if you’re new at this, you might not be getting paid fairly.

Here’s why:

Blacks and women have been socially thought to “accept”, we are afraid to ask for more. We want to be polite.

When it comes to getting paid, always ask, don’t be afraid. The worst that can be said is, “No”.

And if you’re at a startup, think about getting equity1)An equity is owning a piece of the company, so you have a share in the current and possibly future earnings in the company.

Again, it’s an option, ask.

Master Chaos and Bring Order

Leaders manage uncertainty. The more you can manage uncertainty, the faster you will be recognized as a leader.

No matter how crazy things gets, be the one to try and get things under control. I’ve found that the best times to shine are in time of craziness and chaos, maximize this opportunity.

As situations present themselves, be the person to lead, manage and define reality2)This is one of the very important point that stuck with me reading Maxwell’s “360 Degree Leader.

Never Stand Abuse

You might be young and some will want to take advantage of you. Never stand abuse or manipulation.

If your boss is being inappropriate, or sexually suggestive, stand your ground and speak up — this will not be your last job. Better do so now than suffer psychologically.

You deserve a safe working condition.

If you work in a place that you’re at risk for speaking up, leave.

Let me repeat:

Don’t try to ensure this, it’s damaging.

In Summary:

Be getting better everyday.

Even when your colleagues and everyone is lazing around, pushing things till much later, don’t. Take advantage of the time you have to build yourself.

Own your future, hustle early and define your reality.

Get noticed by the important people. Let your hard-work shine.

Above all, be kind.

References   [ + ]

1. An equity is owning a piece of the company, so you have a share in the current and possibly future earnings
2. This is one of the very important point that stuck with me reading Maxwell’s “360 Degree Leader

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