With pandemic graduations just in our rear view mirror, I thought I’d share some of the best career advice I’ve heard. These are great for not just recent graduates but anyone who’s focus is on their career. I’ve had to learn the hard way with some of these!
1. From Gretchen Rubin- Beware of Drift
This happened to me. Drift is when you don’t have a clue what you want to do, so you just kinda fall into a career not of your own choosing. I remember after my high school graduation, my dad was like,
“What do you want to do?”
I was like,
“I don’t know.”
His response was,
“Well, why don’t you go into nursing school and once you figure it out, you can pay for it while you’re making money as a nurse.”
EEEKKKKS. I followed his advice. My mom and dad are your typical nurse recruits from the Philippines. That’s what they knew, you know? I wasted a lot of time and money pursuing a career in nursing. I took all the prerequisites before clinicals and did well. I went to a hospital college, but the first day of clinicals it all came rushing at me— I do not belong in a hospital! This is soooo far from who I really am. I do not want to be in medicine! I do not want to see naked people. THIS IS NOT ME.
Learn from my mistake! Don’t rush into a major if you have no idea what you want to do with your life. Better take a year off, explore and travel and figure out who you are and what you want to be. I’d rather have spent that money on travel than on schooling that I didn’t need! I learned about drift from this Happier podcast if you want to listen.
Another piece of advice from Gretchen Rubin that I took to heart is to look at what I did for fun when I was a kid- say like 10, 11, or 12. I remember very distinctly that I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I did my booth during my 6th grade career fair on fashion design. That’s my ultimate goal now– to design clothes. When we get older somehow all the noise of the world around us blocks out our true dreams, but when we’re kids we don’t doubt ourselves.
2. From Brad the Billionaire- The way to get ahead is to learn the fine art of making others feel good about themselves
Ok, so I don’t actually know if Brad is a billionaire. I just know that he owns a penthouse in Bellevue and owns a big company. Brad the billionaire just has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? When you get to talking to Brad the billionaire, you’ll feel like a million bucks. He has a way of staying humble and making you feel like you’re important. When you leave his presence, you just feel better about yourself. I have no doubt this trait is a huge part of his success in life. When we walked into his penthouse for a New Year’s Eve party, we felt really out of place for the most part. It was like we had just stepped into an episode of Gossip Girl and Serena and her rich friends all stared at us as we walked in. Who are these people not dressed in couture?
haha. But the saving grace was that when we actually talked to Mr. Billionaire, he was quite welcoming, kind, warm, and downright a great host. He also has such great advice on parenting and having a great marriage. You can read about it here.
3. From Nate- Choose One Thing and Become an Expert at it
Okay so this piece of advice wasn’t actually from my husband Nate, but an older gentleman he worked with early on in his career. I think I talked about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. For someone like me who floats around and has many many interests, it was a good reality check and wake up call. The older gentleman said to Nate-
“Learn from me kid. I didn’t stick to anything and now I work for someone younger than me. I’m a jack of all traits, but a master of none. Stick to one thing kid, and make sure you are the best at it, and you’ll go far.”
Okay so maybe that was paraphrased, but you get the point. Nate literally took this to heart, and he gave up his second job as a volunteer firefighter and focused solely on being the best carpenter he could be. Now he’s been in the same field for 22 years and has built bridges, parts of Boeing, Nike, an education center, a skyscraper, homes, tunnels, a federal reserve, a waste treatment plant, a parking garage and these are just the projects I can remember off the top of my head. He literally can build and fix anything. I’m amazed!
4. From Judy- Do Something You Like, but Make Sure You Can Pay the Bills
Judy is my wonderful mother-in-law and Nate’s mom. This was her advice to Nate when he was choosing a career. I think it’s brilliant. It’s practical- you don’t have to choose a career you love but if you like it enough, you’ll be happy. And if you want to be a musician but you can’t pay the bills, then you’ve got a problem. You have to do something else to pay the bills. Or as Oprah Winfrey has so famously said,
“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”
5. From Dr Dambisa Moyo, from the Newsette Newsletter- Your 20s are for Developing a Skill
Dr Dambisa Moyo is a global economist and financial expert. She has some really good advice for twenty somethings-
Aren’t these great pearls of wisdom? I thought so! I have one last piece of advice, and I wish I could remember where I got this. Whatever job or career you end up choosing, make sure whatever you bring to the table adds value. Every time I write a blog post, I always go through my checklist, and that is one point I try to remember. With so many things trying to call our attention, if anyone gives you theirs, make sure your product or your service adds value to their lives. Our careers and our jobs at the end of the day are just another way we can serve others and serve humanity, leaving this place a little better than we found it. If you’re looking for more career advice and you happen to be an ENFP like me, check out this article. Do you know any recent 2020 grads? I’d love it if you’d share this post. 🙂
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