The Best Career Advice From A Mentor
Back in 2001 the economy was imploding much like it was in 2008-2009. I was worried about losing my job and I asked my mentor for advice. He told me something so important that it has guided my approach to doing everything ever since.
David took me to a conference room and sat me down and said, “If you become the best at what you do, you will NEVER have to worry about getting fired.”
He went on to say, “The bottom 10% of people always get fired even during good times. Look at Jack Welch from General Electric. Even in the brightest of good times, he canned the bottom 10% . There’s no room for underperformers, underachievers, and people who blame the world for their own failures. You are in control of your career and your finances. Stop worrying and start being invaluable.”
THE CHANGE IN MINDSET
From that day forward I stopped worrying about security anymore. Security, I decided, was for the timid who couldn’t shift the gear to drive. Worrying was a complete waste of energy! David was right. Even if the bottom 10% get fired every year, there is still 90% left who don’t. The trick is not only to stay in the 90% group, but to flourish and be in the top quartile, consistently.
If you are a manager of the firm, you certainly are never going to fire your best performers unless you are forced to shut down your entire department due to a business shift. To do so would be completely irrational. As an employee, you need to understand this simple fact and go out there and be the best. Networking with colleagues, riding rocketships, and working later are the EASIEST things you can do to move yourself up the performance curve. Effort requires no skill!
OF COURSE MATH SAYS OTHERWISE
There’s one thing you can do, and one thing you can hope for. The one thing you can do is just try harder. The one thing you can hope for is that everybody slacks off. Hope is not a strategy for success. Hope is just a lazy man or woman’s dream of getting rewarded as an “A” player, while being a “C” performer.
Not everybody can get to the top. But, certainly there are enough people who can reach the top 25%. I don’t want to be the perennial bench warmer on my tennis team, so I try and practice at least 3 times a week to get better. I don’t let myself go because quickness is a deadly skill on the court. I try and stretch and work out to lessen the chance of injury. And in the end, I try and mind bend you on the tennis court so you will mentally implode. I want to play!
Writing consistently is the same thing. I used to get e-mails from people who complain they can’t keep up and write 2-4 times a week on average as the Yakezie Membership requirements stipulate. Come on guys. If you can speak words everyday, you can certainly write everyday, let alone only 2-4 times a week! Stop making excuses. I once wrote four, 800+ word posts on my iPhone on the way back from an international business trip. You can surely write a couple posts a week on your computer.
Your career is the absolute most important income generator of your life. Why would you EVER risk your most important income source by slacking off? If you were in a shaky industry, your rational mind would immediately create contingency plans to join another industry/company if your ship were to sink. You’d network like crazy and get some new credentials to boost your resume. In other words, you’d do everything possible to survive!
You can blame your failures on the economy or, you can try harder to be the best. There is ALWAYS someone out there looking to hire the best just like there’s always someone out there gunning for you. The choice is up to you. If you are one of the best people for what you do, you will never really worried about being unemployed or never having enough income to survive. Instead, you will start getting bombarded with offers to join other firms. Furthermore, you will probably have more money than you know what to do with!
Readers, are you really doing your best at your job or whatever project you’ve undertaken? If not, why not? Have you ever worried about losing your job? What did you do to fix that worry?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”