Great advice is priceless. It can change your mindset and open up many new opportunities. Back in 2001, the economy was imploding much like it was in 2008-2009. I was worried about losing my job and asked my mentor for advice. He told me something so important. My mentor gave me the best career advice. 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.”
Best Career Advice: A 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. Network with colleagues, ride rocket ships, and work later. These are the EASIEST things you can do to move yourself up the performance curve. Effort requires no skill!
Hope Is Not A Strategy For Success
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.
But 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.
You have to be an action player. Grab the bull by the horns as they say. Take control of your destiny. Believe that you can achieve anything with enough time and effort.
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. Thus, I try and practice at least 3 times a week to get better.
I don't let myself go soft 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 my opponents on the tennis court so they will mentally implode. I want to play!
More Career Advice: Consistency
In addition to taking action and putting in effort to be the best, you must have consistency. You won't get far if you bust your bum for three months and then slack off for the next three. Stay consistent.
I've taken this approach with my writing for more than a decade now. I used to get e-mails from people complaining they can't keep up and write 2-4 times a week on average.
My response is simple. 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 too can surely write a couple posts a week on your computer.
Your Greatest Income Generator
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!
Maximize Your Job's Benefits
Another best career advice tips I can give you is to maximize your job's benefits. You may not fully appreciate them now due to your age or lack of awareness. But trust me, you will when they're gone.
What type of benefits am I referring to? Here are just a few:
- Access to a 401(k) retirement account or SEP IRA
- Employer matching for retirement accounts
- Subsidized health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance
- Unemployment insurance
- Short-term disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Training and mentorship
Strive To Be The Best
You can blame your failures on the economy, your coworkers, your dog, 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 yours.
Remember my mentor's best career advice to be the best. If you are one of the best people in your niche, you will never really worry about unemployment 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!
Start your own business: If you feel you're not getting paid what you're worth and want to boost your income, start your own business online on the side!
It used to cost a fortune and a lot of employees to start your business. Now you can start it for next to nothing with a hosting company like Bluehost for under $4/month and they'll give you a free domain for a year to boot.
Brand yourself online, connect with like-minded people, find new consulting gigs, and potentially make a good amount of income online one day by selling your product or recommending other great products. Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009.
Updated for 2020 and beyond.