The working world seems pretty easy when we’re growing up. We see our parents leave for work every morning and come home at night, and all we know is that you need to have a job in order to make money to support your family. It’s only when we graduate from university and start working ourselves that we realize it’s so much more complicated than that. There are so many factors that contribute to whether you succeed or fail in your chosen industry, not to mention whether you find happiness and fulfilment or nothing but boredom at the office. But even with so much useful career advice out there, there are a lot of things that people don’t talk about. Read on for the ten most important career tips that no one has ever told you.
See Also: 9 Career Goals You Should Achieve By 30
1. Leave Your Job Before Finding Another
We always hear that it’s a bad idea to quit your current position before landing another job. But there’s nothing worse than being desperately unhappy at your job. Your health will definitely suffer if you continue going to be in an office that only causes you high stress levels. You can be confident that you’re dealing with work-induced stress if you experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, overwhelming tiredness, painful headaches, and even more.
In fact it might be a good idea to leave your current job to get another one, provided that you can support yourself in the meantime, because you might find it a bit tricky to get a job while still working. For example, if you are working from 9-to-5 every day of the week, you can only say you have an appointment at the doctor or dentist so many times before your boss starts wondering if you have some kind of serious medical condition as you never seem to be in the office. Another reason is that if you’re miserable at your current job you won’t be able to think clearly about the kind of job that would actually be right for you. So don’t feel guilty about giving your two weeks’ notice and taking a few weeks to fill out job applications while carefully considering what you want to do next.
2. Don’t Stay in the Same Industry Forever Unless you Love it
We often think of success as a straight line where the only way you can go is up. But in fact, sometimes you can go sideways and still be considered successful (maybe even more so). You’re not failing if you realize that you’re just not all that interested in the field you’re working in anymore. Maybe you’re a corporate lawyer who’s recently developed a passion for yoga since you attend classes on evenings and weekends when you’re not crazy busy working. Then one day you wake up and realize that you would love to be a yoga teacher and leave the corporate world behind. Go ahead and do it – you only have one life, and you can be just as fulfilled by doing something non-traditional instead of following the same career path you had envisioned for yourself.
3. Sometimes Success is Out of Your Hands
It’s easy to blame yourself when year after year, you get a less than amazing performance review from your boss. You always feel like you’re doing good work, you’re super productive every single day, and you hear praise from clients and other coworkers when you finish a project, yet your manager is never happy. It’s annoying to realize this but sometimes, whether you will succeed in a certain position has nothing to do with your sunny personality or how many hours you log at your computer. Your boss can have tons of different reasons to never throw compliments your way or may have decided a long time ago that she was never going to promote you. So whether you fail or succeed in this specific job might have everything to do with outside factors. Maybe your boss has been interested in promoting your coworker instead because they’ve been at the company for five years and you’ve only been there for one. Don’t feel bad and keep working towards your own idea of success.
4. You Can Only Make You Happy
Some bosses say nice things, others never do. Some coworkers will say they love what you’ve been doing and others will feel threatened so they’ll say nothing. Some clients give you positive feedback and others will never say one nice thing, so all you’ll hear is how awful every draft you send them is. A very important career tip? The only person you can make happy in your career is the one staring back at you when you look in the mirror.
Job satisfaction is a crucial element of your overall happiness. If you hate what you do every day, you’re going to start resenting it and everyone you work with, and you’ll most likely fall into a depression. Part of being fulfilled by what you do is making sure that your work is making you happy. Not anyone else. Not your manager, the people sitting beside you, or your clients if you freelance or work part-time. Just you.
We often hear that we should listen to outer expectations when it comes to career success. Your mom wants you to go to law school, so you think you should enroll. Your boss says they see you in a different role and you agree even though you have a feeling that you wouldn’t enjoy the new responsibilities. But you can’t live for other people, you have to live for you.
5. Office Politics Can Ruin Even the Best Job
Certain office environments can feel a lot like the high school that you’ve long since left. You’ll wonder how grown adults can gossip and exclude, but it happens more often than you might think. So even if you completely love what you do and you are doing an absolutely amazing job, you might still have to leave eventually thanks to the awful office politics. Maybe you’ve done your best to be nice and friendly to all of your colleagues, but the girl next to you is so jealous of you that she’s determined to make sure your boss doesn’t recognize your hard work. That can make even the coolest job a complete hell. The fact that people can ruin any job position is not discussed much but unfortunately, you won’t always get along with your coworkers, and this might turn out to be a problem.
6. You Need to Suck up From Time to Time
We never want to be that brownnosing person in the office who everyone thinks is such a goody-two shoes because they’re always complimenting their coworker’s outfit or bringing their boss a vanilla latte every day at 2 p.m. Unfortunately, those little friendly acts add up, and even though it may seem like obvious sucking up to everyone in the office, it can help you in the long run. Maybe your boss will think of you for an upcoming important project or you will become closer with your coworker, which will bring you an overall sense of job satisfaction. There’s an old saying: “Be nice to people on the way up because you’re going to see them again on the way down.” We like to think we’ll always be on top but what if we fail miserably? So it’s always a good idea to at least be friendly all the time.
7. You Won't Always Love Your Job
We think that once we land our so-called dream position, life will be amazing. We’ll never have a bad day ever again and we’ll already feel so completely successful that anything further will be like icing on the cake. A significant career tip is that no matter how much you love your career, you won’t always love every single day that you spend working. Some days will be a slog, you’ll be exhausted from the moment you open your eyes in the morning and you won’t be motivated at all. Other days will be filled with impossible problems that seem like they can’t be fixed. And let’s not forget all those boring admin or organizational tasks that need to get done no matter what your position or field. So keep your chin up and get through the less than fun times because if you enjoy what you do, you’ll be able to handle anything. And when the good days do come, you’ll be so glad that you didn’t give up.
8. A Job Can Cost you Money
You’re getting paid a salary and hopefully benefits, but did you know that you have to spend money, too? You might need to further your education and pay for a weekend workshop or evening course if your company doesn’t cover it. When you travel for work, you might have to pay some of the costs. Don’t freak out, stay calm and realize that it’s all for your career. It’s not the best economy, as we’re all aware, so some job perks that used to be paid for by companies in the past are usually covered by the employees themselves these days. It’s just reality. But sometimes paying for a course or workshop is worth it because you need some new, different skills that will help you succeed even more.
9. Don't Feel Guilty About Needing a Time-Out
Career burn-out is a real thing. It’s not something to be ashamed of and you’re not a weak person if you need to take a leave of absence from your job due to health reasons (whether it’s about your physical or mental health). If your career is making you more sick than happy, then it’s time to leave it, no matter how many goals you still have on your to-do list. Do the smart thing and don’t kill yourself working.
10. Priorities Change
In your early and mid and even late 20s, you’re basically married to your job. It gets you up in the mornings and puts you to bed at night. You spend all your free time worrying about whether your boss likes you and if he is going to promote you, you worry about making as much money as humanly possible so you can buy a mansion and travel the world, even though you know that’s probably never going to happen. As you approach the age of 30 or if you’re already in your third decade, your priorities start to shift. You might be interested in having a family and so you want to scale back at work and only come in part-time in order to raise your kids, too. Or you might want to quit altogether and work for yourself at home so you can balance work and family. So what if you worked for years to get your dream job? You might wake up one morning and realize you simply don’t care about it anymore.
On the other hand, you might never want to leave your job or career behind for having children, and that’s perfectly fine, too. Always do what’s right for you and listen to what you truly want.
Now that you know the top ten career tips that no one’s told you, you can be confident that you can reach success in your chosen career. You don’t need to listen to what others say and what they want for your job and your life. You’re the one who has to wake up every day and head to your office, after all. So always listen to your heart as well as your head and make sure you’re living the life and have the job that you truly want.