Lying like a rug. Running it up the flagpole. At the end of the day. What do these phrases and sayings have in common? They are some of the most annoying cliches around, whether it’s at work, at home or life in general. More importantly, they are common career cliches that present themselves everyday in front of you at your desk, at the office bathroom or workplace meeting.
Throughout our entire lives, our parents, school teachers, friends and even employers have espoused annoying career cliches that actually turned out to be true. Everything from "Rome wasn’t built in a day" to "actions speak louder than words," career cliches are rampant, and despite their annoyance, they are actually correct.
You may not want to admit it, but some of the most prevalent of cliches around are correct. Now, will you accept them or will you continue to brush them off because of their insults to your intelligence?
Here are nine of the most annoying cliches that turned out to be true:
1. It's Not What You Know But Who You Know
You may have a lot of knowledge. Your mind is filled with facts, figures and statistics regarding history, economics, politics, quantum physics and astronomy. Your brain is something that makes us envy you. The problem is that even with a lot of knowledge it turns out that it’s not what you know but who you know. If you don’t have friends in high places or professional acquaintances in certain companies you want to work for, then perhaps all of that knowledge is for naught.
2. The Grass is Greener on the Other Side
At the present time, you’re reading this article at work. You detest your job; your boss, your colleagues, your location, your position. Your friends inform you that they’re working in the same industry as you but at a different company and it’s wonderful. You then ask yourself: is the grass truly greener on the other side? If you’re the only one of your group of friends in a dead end job then perhaps it really is. Do your research and find the job that best suits you.
3. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (or Patience is a Virtue)
Being impatient never gets you anywhere. Demanding immediate gratification is next to impossible. This is why good things come to those who wait, or the other favorite: patience is a virtue. When you avoid being impetuous and decide to wait for the next great opportunity then you will be rewarded by the powers at be, whether they’re the gods of careers or the bosses of a major company (or startup). Take your time and be patient.
4. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
It’s like the old Fred Astaire tune: "I’m putting all my eggs in one basket. I’m betting everything I’ve got on you." If this is your strategy in your career then you’re in trouble. You should never, ever limit your job search to just one or two jobs or businesses or industries. This can be remedied by widening your career search and expanding your potential employment opportunities and horizons. Branch out and experiment a little.
5. Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
Didn’t you know Rome wasn’t built in a day? If you’ve been around at least one older person then you have likely heard this saying over and over again. It’s ingrained inside all of our brains. Unfortunately, it’s a very true and astute phrase because it applies to every facet of our lives, including our jobs. Indeed, your very first job won’t be your dream job nor will you find it immediately after college. You will have to spend a great deal of time and effort to get where you want to be. Moreover, you’ll have to gradually climb the ladder and grab that brass ring. Rome took a long time to be built, and so will your career.
6. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
In every facet of life - most of the time, anyway - actions do indeed speak louder than words. It’s about what you do as opposed to what you say. We see politicians saying things all the time, but never actually doing anything. Essentially, saying something and doing something are two different things.
For instance, someone could say on their resume they are a team player, but actually being one is an entirely different story. Or, apologizing to your boss for a mistake you made will only count for something if you learn from it. We could apologize until we’re blue in the face, but it won’t get us anywhere. The solution is to act more, say less. That should be your motto now!
It’s like telling your parents you will get an A- on your next three tests, but then only obtaining a B grade on each one. You said something, but failed to act on it.
7. You Can't Swim Without Getting Wet
If you think your skills need some touching up because you haven’t used them in quite a while then put them into action immediately. You can’t continue with this level of expertise without actually working them out. It’s like the old adage: you can’t swim without getting wet. Therefore, you may lose your precious skills and knowledge if you refrain from applying your talents.
8. Opportunity Only Knocks Once
It’s probably inherent inside of most of us to take advantage of an opportunity. Why? Because, as the man says, opportunity doesn’t knock twice. When something comes your way, you have to quickly transform into the ultimate opportunist and grab that opportunity. Again, it’s the proverbial brass ring you should reach for. You shouldn’t ever accept the notion that another opportunity will be presented in your lap. Chances are very slim of this happening.
9. You Should Always do More With Less
Doing more with less should be the motto for so many creators and entrepreneurs out there. For some reason or another, many of us tend to believe that we can only succeed in our objective if we have all of these knick knacks around. This is false. A website is best when it’s simple. A business will succeed when it has less. A motion picture is great when it focuses more on substance than explosions. Always try to do well with less at your disposal. You don’t have to rely on the latest technologies or the latest mobile apps to be the best.
Cliches were once clever when they were first uttered or written down. However, after a long period of time, they became cringeworthy and made us want to pull out our eyeballs whenever we heard them. "It is what it is," "at the end of the day" and "hit the ground running" will immediately garner the rolling of the eyes or a sigh.
In certain circumstances - as this article has showcased - cliches haven proven to be true and useful in our careers. When you get a little older, a little wiser and a little grayer, you will come up with your own set of cliche statements, or perhaps take the current ones, and say them to your children, your younger colleagues or younger people you come across. Their reaction will be the same as yours: puke!
What are some annoying cliches you have found to be true in your career? Let us know in the comments section below.