Career Tips

Do Your Job But Don't Forget Your Career

Let's be frank. Most people talk about their "career" but honestly what they really talk about is their "job." These people show up, they do the minimum amount of effort required to not get fired, and they go home. And after a few years they wonder why they are still walking the office hallways at night and not much else, barely making ends meet, and why that new guy just got promoted twice in his first year.

This could paint a picture that looks a lot like one of your colleagues. It could paint a picture that looks a lot like a family member. It might even paint a picture that looks a lot like you.

How do you get ahead so you don't have to stand out in the bitter cold all day holding the door open for people who hardly acknowledge your existence? How do you stand out from the rest of your colleagues who are fighting for the same small promotions that you are? How do you get that raise you need so you can stop worrying about the car repairs that need to be done and start focusing on your work?

Your career is a game. Learn the rules of the game and it will take you places. Your job? That's just something you show up to, put in your forty hours, and go home and forget about. When you work at your job, you are building value for your boss, for your employer. When you work on your career, you are building value for you.

In my career tips section I will lay out all the things you need to do to build your career value up. Some of these career tips might be obvious, some of them you might already be doing, but hopefully many of them you are learning for the first time. I say "hopefully learning for the first time" because it means you don't need to unlearn a whole bunch of career bad habits you might have already picked up.

Over my own career I have made a lot of mistakes and had some serious missteps. You can profit from my mistakes, you don't need to make the same ones I did. I'll lay out the mistakes I made, how I fixed them, what I did to make myself just different enough that my boss paid attention to my good work, promoted me faster than my colleagues, even when I was relatively new to the job, and put myself front and center whenever there was overtime (even when there was a ban on overtime), how I got into extra training classes to be taken but only for a limited number of staff, and all the other benefits that my colleagues always wondered why they weren't getting and I was.

This kind of career growth doesn't require a lot of extra effort, it doesn't require brown-nosing or sucking up, it doesn't require the right place and right time luck either, it just requires a little bit of diligence and knowing the best places to expend your limited time and energy. And again, when you focus on your career, you are building value in yourself that will make it easier to get promoted, switch jobs, and get the income that you want.

You owe doing a good job to your employer. You owe having a great career to yourself.

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